Building the mHealth Mesh

Posted on Mon, Jun 14, 2010 – 05:10 am at mobilehealthwatch.com | mHealthNews.com

The Federal agency tasked in bringing telecommunications to rural America is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Its June 7, 2010 Round One Awards Report, Connecting Rural America, summarized the state of the projects (68 funded thus far) of the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"Broadband provides connectivity for efficient delivery of not just those programs, but for access to many goods and services needed by rural residents, including healthcare, education, and financial services", wrote Jonathan Adelstein, program administrator. "These will not only benefit rural areas but will enhance our overall economic growth nationwide."

In its analysis the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council noted that more than half of the 62 last-mile initiatives "will involve end-to-end fiber optic solutions, with the reminder divided over other access technologies including wireless, DSL and coaxial cable."

"There are already more than 700 companies deploying fiber to the home networks in communities across the U.S., most of them in rural areas," remarked Joe Savage, President of the FTTH Council.

The report categorizes the projects as: Wireless Terrestrial Fixed (23), Wireless Terrestrial Mobile (5), Wireless Satellite (1), Wireless Hybrid System (3), Wireline Fiber-Optic Cable (48), Wireline xDSL (14), and Wireline Coaxial Cable (2).

The report highlighted these projects with at least some wireless component:
    •    Alaska: Copper Valley Wireless’s middle-mile project.
    •    Iowa: Eastlight, LLC, wireless broadband to 144,000 rural residents, 111 communities project.
    •    Ohio: Consolidated Electric Cooperative, Inc. Delaware, Morrow, Knox, and Licking counties middle-mile project.
    •    Oregon: The city of Sandy, Ore., (SandyNet, its own municipal Internet service provider) wireless Internet service expansion project.