$18M Fiber Optic Network to Open in NE

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , November 19, 2010

The Rural Nebraska Healthcare Network, a consortium of nine hospitals and clinics in western Nebraska, has broken ground on a new $18 million fiber optic medical network that—when completed—will extend across the Nebraska panhandle.

The ceremonial groundbreaking last Friday at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, NE, marks the start of a project made possible by federal funding under the Rural Healthcare Pilot Program of the Federal Communications Commission.

RNHN will connect nine primary care hospitals and dozens of affiliated clinics creating one of the most advanced and robust medical technology networks in Nebraska.

“This fiber network will facilitate the deployment of advanced medical technologies, and vastly improve patient care and physician communication,” said Lisa Bewley, CIO for Regional West Medical Center.
RNHN contracted with Zayo Group, a Colorado-based provider of bandwidth infrastructure and network neutral colocation services, to build the network that will piggyback commercial telecommunications products to be offered in underserved rural Nebraska. 

The proposed 750 mile fiber network spans 12 counties in western Nebraska, and will connect to national research networks such as National Lambda Rail and Internet 2 in Denver, CO. Adesta, LLC, a Nebraska company is about to begin the network construction, which has been two years in the planning.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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