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Gov. Beebe Announces $635,000 for Wireless Internet Relay Towers to Reach Crossett & McGehee Campuses – Video

October 25th, 2013 by

Governor Mike Beebe today announced the release of $635,000 from the state general improvement fund to construct four microwave relay towers that will connect the UAM Colleges of Technology in Crossett and McGehee to the fiber network at the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s main campus.

The towers will provide the Crossett and McGehee campuses with increased broadband capability and access to state and national networks.

Governor Beebe made the announcement Thursday morning on the UAM campus at a gathering of business, civic and education leaders fromthroughout southeast Arkansas. “This is your money and I can think of no better way to spend it than on education and jobs,” said Beebe.

The Colleges of Technology at Crossett and McGehee are currently operating on low capacity broadband, which greatly hinders the utilization of internet resources for instruction and the ability to provide online courses. “The current bandwidth is being completely absorbed by faculty and staff at the technology campuses in their normal work process,” said UAM Chancellor Jack Lassiter. “We had no additional growth available through the current system.”

Bob Ware, vice chancellor of the McGehee campus, said the increased broadband access “will allow our faculty the opportunity to do things they haven’t been able to do in regard to online instruction because of the limited bandwidth we’ve had on our campus.”

Once the towers are in place, the technology campuses will have broadband service 13 times faster than they currently have. “This will not only benefit our campuses but also the local communities we serve,” said Lassiter. “The connectivity that will be available can be used to promote economic growth in southeast Arkansas.”

The new towers will also result in cost savings for both the Crossett and McGehee campuses. Both campuses were going to be forced tocontract with outside sources to increase bandwidth, which would have resulted in a significant increase in monthly service cost. “The annual savings for the Crossett campus alone will be approximately $40,000,” said Lassiter. “The project will hopefully begin early in 2014 and should be totally operational by the start of the fall 2014 semester.”

For more information, contact Jim Brewer, director of media services, at (870) 460-1274.

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