Broadband Center of Excellence Conference

Community leaders from around the state gathered at UNH yesterday for the launching of the BCoE, or Broadband Center of Excellence. This organization champions the benefits of broadband in enabling community, learning, and growth. Rouzbeh Yassini, Director of the Broadband Center of Excellence, expressed the importance broadband plays and will play in the growth of our economy and economic future, and how increasing broadband connectivity in the state and nation should be a top priority among those eager to witness this change.

The presentations and demonstrations given at the conference were all very informative and helped audience members understand what broadband is; the need for more connectivity across the state; the applications broadband can be utilized for; and how broadband has become as essential to our infrastructure as electricity, here in the 21st century.

During the conference two panels were held, one among community leaders from UNH Cooperative Extension and UNH Granit, and another including individuals working on statewide broadband efforts such as ConnectNH, IBeam, Network New Hampshire NOW, and other Wide Access Networks (WANs) and Regional Optical Networks (RONs). Discussions among UNH Cooperative Extension personnel and UNH Granit, helped to explain the outreach work UNH Cooperative Extension has completed to provide training and tools related to broadband and its influence on the economy, as well as the mapping efforts being completed to create a clear picture of broadband service availability in the state.

The second panel included a Live Chat with meteorologists at the top of Mount Washington, which is a program made possible by ConnectNH. ConnectNH is dedicated to developing and implementing an affordable and interactive video conferencing network across NH. Discussions also included progress on fiber being laid in the state as part of Network New Hampshire NOW, and what this means for connectivity in the state. Creating redundant and resilient networks, whether Wide Access Networks (WAN) and RON(Regional Optical Networks) was also addressed and how this process has allowed for cheaper connectivity between universities, important community anchor institutions, and even residences.

Other highlights included a video chat session with Scott Valcourt, Director of the UNH IT Project Management and Consulting Services, live from D.C. where he had just attended a Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition meeting. Scott summarized the meeting saying that lengthy discussion took place concerning the e-rate process, which allows schools to get discounted telecommunications and internet access, how it should be used, as well as the requirements and rules. It was also discussed that investment in broadband could equal investment in school reform.

Overall, the conference was a huge success. SRPC would like to thank the BCOE for their invitation and looks forward to their work in the future in championing the force that is broadband, and its significance for the economy, community, and overall growth in the region and state.