High-speed internet service to be ‘leveling agent’ for West Virginia colleges

Marshall University technologists said many of the state’s campuses haven’t had access to state-of-the-art web networks like Internet2 because of school size and budgetary restrictions.

With the new internet connection, West Virginia K-12 schools and colleges will be able to collaborate with educators and students worldwide, participate in live deep-seas explorations, or practice telemedicine and use other web-based medical applications, for example.

“In rural states like West Virginia, Internet2 is the leveling agent that allows us to compete and collaborate globally while still remaining in our beautiful state,” said Jan Fox, senior vice president for IT and chief information officer for Marshall University.

Funding for West Virginia’s Internet2 project will come from a National Science Foundation grant to West Virginia’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

The NSF grant was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the massive federal stimulus package passed in 2009.

Marshall University received $525,000 to enable its Internet2 connection last year.

While Internet2 has remained a favorite of campus technologists nationwide, web search giant Google also has announced plans to bring high-speed internet to communities with limited access.

Google announced last February a handful of experimental internet networks around the country to ensure that tomorrow’s systems can keep up with online video and other advanced applications that the company will want to deliver.

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