(Official Government House release)
viNGN NETWORK READY TO BEGIN SERVICE TO COMMUNITY ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS AND PUBLIC COMPUTER CENTERS
ACCESS TO TERRITORY’S HIGH SPEED BROADBAND NETWORK TO BE MADE AVAILABLE SOON TO LOCAL INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS
ST. THOMAS, August 29, 2013 — Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. and the Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN) Board announced Wednesday that viNGN has connected its first Community Anchor Institution (CAI) and Public Computer Center (PCC) served from its High Speed Frederiksted Fiber Access Point (FAP).
At a Board of Directors meeting, Lawrence J. Kupfer, President and CEO of Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN), updated board members that the Community Anchor Institution and Public Computer Center that had been connected is the Athalie McFarlane Petersen Public Library, and the library’s internet service provider should complete its connection to the viNGN network later this week.
The viNGN Public Computer Center, which is provided in partnership with the library, will allow the public to experience firsthand the capabilities of viNGN’s high speed network. viNGN’s 100% fiber optic cable network will enable internet service providers to offer the highest internet speeds available in the territory.
Kupfer said that “a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held when the remaining Community Anchor Institutions in Frederiksted have been connected, and the CAI’s and PCC’s have obtained service through an internet service provider”.
Under the federal government’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), Community Anchor Institutions include all schools, universities, medical and health care facilities, public safety entities, community support organizations and other government facilities. In total, viNGN plans to connect 316 Community Anchor Institutions throughout the territory.
De Jongh said he was pleased that viNGN’s network is ready to begin serving Community Anchor Institutions, as they are a critical component of President Obama’s National Broadband Plan, and he added, “I want to thank the viNGN staff and its contractors for their hard work over the last few months to make access to the high speed network a reality”.
viNGN’s network will continue to expand as it completes Fiber Access Points around the territory and as the viNGN management team continues to engage in discussions with local internet service providers who are interested in using viNGN’s high speed fiber optic cable network to service commercial and residential customers. The fiber optic cables will run along all major roads in the territory, with local internet service providers able to connect to the network and sell higher capacity Internet access to their customers on the retail market at a lower price.
It was also reported that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has provided viNGN with the final approvals for the extension of the territory’s Comprehensive Community Infrastructure (CCI) Grant, which allows the project to carry out all remaining program activities through to December 31, 2013, with program/grant close-out activities, including the ability to seek reimbursements for expenditures, extending through March 31, 2014.
Additionally, the NTIA has provided the final approvals for the extension of the territory’s Public Computer Center (PCC) and Sustainable Broadband Adoption (SBA) Grants, which extend the projects to carry out all remaining program activities through to September 30, 2014. These extensions will allow viNGN to continue to offer free Digital Literacy, IT-related, business-related and a wide range of other training at its Public Computer Centers and online.
The viNGN is a corporate subsidiary of the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority (PFA). The PFA is responsible for oversight of the development of the “middle mile” fiber network and the PCC and SBA programs.
These projects are funded through four grants awarded the territory by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Further, the 29th Legislature provided approval for the PFA to issue a $38 million bond towards the required matching contributions in April of 2011.
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