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Carnegie Mellon Pilots Highspeed Wireless Rural Connectivity

BY Byron Spice - Tue, 2003-07-22 12:00  Printer-friendly version

Pittsburgh, PA— Through a $250,000 grant funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Benedum Foundation, CMU's Center for Appalachian Network Access (CANA) will implement a new, wireless broadband network linking the community of Glenville, WV, with the rest of the world through high speed wireless Internet connectivity.

After several months of planning, implementation of the project begins on July 12 at Glenville State College (GSC) with "Camp Glenville." This working "camp" brings together faculty and students of CMU's H. John Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, School of Computer Science, and Graduate School of Industrial Administration to meet with members of Glenville's governmental, educational, and business sectors and begin the process of building the new network.

CANA was co-founded and is being led by CMU Associate Professor of Computer Science, Bruce Maggs. "This project is a prime example of the way that technology can be used strategically to bring together public and private institutions to add tangible value and quality of life enhancements to communities," said Professor Maggs. "Wireless Internet means that geographical isolation no longer means that rural communities have to be isolated from commerce with the greater world."

Broadband high-speed connectivity allows high-speed transmission of large amounts of data, including multimedia and video. This new high speed connectivity should have a lasting impact on the Glenville economy.

"We see great opportunities for schools, hospitals, and other nonprofit institutions, along with private businesses," said project originator and co-founder S. John Whitehill, a Pittsburgh investment banker and CMU alumnus. "Once we have Glenville fully operational, we are planning to replicate this concept in other rural communities throughout Appalachia.

"The resources aren't there for small communities to do these projects on their own," said GSC Interim President Robert Freeman. "GSC is excited to partner with CMU in this wireless implementation. This is a project that will touch everyone in this community."

The new broadband network is a continuation of several technology and educational initiatives started by Larry Baker, Vice President of Technology at Glenville State College. Members of the community and the College will continue to look for additional partners as they move forward with additional project implementations.

In addition to the initial broadband network, Whitehill hopes that GSC can become the lead in West Virginia to adopt Internet2, a not-for-profit consortium, led by over 200 US universities, developing and deploying advanced network applications and technology, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet.

"I have been delighted with the commitment and excitement for the project that has been demonstrated by our political, community, and college leaders," said Larry R. Baker, Associate Vice President of Technology at Glenville State College and leader of the effort for the Glenville community. "Senator Jay Rockefeller will be joining us for dinner this Friday night as a demonstration of how far the interest in what we are trying to accomplish reaches."

While in Glenville, the members of the CMU team will become well acquainted with Glenville and all that it has to offer and will be taking advantage of many of the exciting activities that Glenville and central West Virginia offer.

The Appalachian Regional Commission was established by Congress in 1965 to support economic and social development in Appalachia, a 200,000 square-mile region from the spine of the Appalachian Mountains in Southern New York to Northern Mississippi. The ACR programs include parts of 13 states, including all of West Virginia.

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Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 | [Click to Reveal Email]