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

A 2008 report showed many West Virginia colleges didn't have access to Internet2.

West Virginia students, educators, and researchers are getting a much-needed boost in high-speed internet service after a local campus agreed to share its superior internet connection with colleges and K-12 schools that have lagged behind in advanced connectivity.

Technology officials at Marshall University—a 13,000-student private campus in Huntington, W.Va.—announced July 7 that it would team up with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission to share its Internet2 connection with the state’s undergraduate colleges, community colleges, technical schools, and health-care and government agencies.

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Internet2 is a nonprofit consortium that works with research campuses to make high-speed internet service more widely available. West Virginia is the 40th state to make Internet2 available to educational institutions.

A 2008 technology assessment of West Virginia schools’ high-bandwidth connectivity showed that no predominantly undergraduate institutions, technical colleges, or community colleges had access to Internet2, largely because “low population density and rugged terrain have discouraged these types of investments from the private sector,” according to a Marshall University report.

That means “the costs and efforts associated with connecting the state’s research infrastructure to world-class research networks are significantly larger than they might be in other areas.”

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