UACCM Connects to ARE-ON

UACCM First of 22 Two-Year Colleges Connected to ARE-ON
Fiber Through Arkansas e-Link

The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton (UACCM) today held an informative presentation on its plans for the future connection to the new Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON).

As one of Arkansas e-Link’s partners, ARE-ON is a state-of-the-art, fiber optic network that provides internet bandwidth for colleges and universities across Arkansas.

According to Mike Abbiatti, executive director of Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON), “The Arkansas e-Link initiative is an excellent example of what happens when three critical higher education organizations, UAMS, AATYC, and ARE-ON, join forces with a common vision. E-link is not about fiber infrastructure, it is about what we DO with the infrastructure to improve healthcare and education for the citizens of Arkansas.  E-link will be a factor in empowering the Natural State in changing its national perception from “poor me” to ‘FOLLOW ME!’ ”

In August 2010 the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), accompanied by officials from federal and state agencies, received a $102 million grant from the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), known now as Arkansas e-Link.

Arkansas e-Link, a three-year project, will enable fiber connections and/or bandwidth upgrades in all 75 counties and in 135 Arkansas communities, including 81 Arkansas hospitals, all two-year colleges (four-year colleges are already connected), eight public libraries, all state human development centers, the state’s trauma network, community health centers, mental health clinics and home health agencies; 474 community anchor sites total.

“What makes this grant so critical to Arkansas is that our state ranks 50th in the percentage of households with a computer, 50th in percentage of households with Internet access and 46th in percentage of households with broadband access,” said Debbie Green, project director of Arkansas e-Link. “Arkansas also ranks third worst in the country for early deaths. So the need is obvious, and we’ll be able to vastly improve upon those statistics.”

UACCM along with the other education sites will have the ability to deliver distance learning, provide new opportunities for sharing curriculum and other resources, and increase the ability of two-year colleges to meet the training needs of businesses and industries in their communities.

UACCM Chancellor Dr. Larry Davis said “We are honored to become the first Arkansas community college to connect with this new fiber-optic network that will provide nearly unlimited bandwidth for colleges and universities across Arkansas. ARE-ON opens up expanded opportunities and gives us the resources we need to fully develop our ability to help our students succeed.”
Key partners include the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network, Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Baptist Health, Arkansas Hospital Association, Arkansas State Library and Community Health Centers of Arkansas.

University of Arkansas System President Dr. B. Alan Sugg said, “This new network infrastructure gives our educational community unlimited potential throughout the state and beyond. Through Arkansas e-Link, we will have one of the most connected health care and education systems in the U.S. It has far-reaching implications to improve educational opportunities, increase access to health care, and enhance economic development. The Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network should serve as a role model for other states.”


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