The $102M Arkansas Healthcare, Higher Education, Public Safety, & Research Integrated Broadband Initiative funded through the NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunities Program is now named UAMS e-Link. This project upgraded, expanded and integrated fragmented, limited bandwidth broadband networks by offering 474 community anchor institutions substantial broadband upgrades, added broadband equipment and connectivity to a fiber backbone. It was designed to meet broadband needs in healthcare, higher education, public safety, and research in unserved, underserved, and economically distressed areas in Arkansas.
In the first year of funding, UAMS Center for Distant Health, now the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation (IDHI), reached a major milestone through the approval of its Environmental Assessment, and the proposed project was found to have no significant impact on the environment, allowing engineers to begin the implementation of the network design. Completing the Environmental Assessment also allowed UAMS e-Link to proceed in acquiring grant-funded equipment and bandwidth, the primary deliverables of the grant-funded initiative.
UAMS IDHI also hired 12 professionals to manage, plan, and implement UAMS e-Link. The grant-funded staff spent the first year of the program’s implementation preparing each of the network sites for broadband connections and equipment. In doing this, they solicited and chose vendors, fiber routes, and interactive video equipment through publically disseminated requests for proposals. The UAMS e-Link staff visited sites to prepare them for upgraded broadband capable of telemedicine activities by providing project introduction materials, including a slideshow, fact sheet, and a memoranda of agreement for equipment and broadband circuits. Another major outlet of information to the public and participating partners is the UAMS e-Link website, which went live in October 2010.
e-Link program managers continually work with vendors, end-users, and UAMS Network Management to establish or upgrade broadband in preparation for the installation of interactive video equipment. Once the equipment is installed, program managers build relationships with end-users to encourage utilization of the interactive video equipment. They make site visits, provide additional training and offer application recommendations.
Learn more about UAMS e-Link by visiting the website HERE.