Updated February 23 at 11:56am
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Lighting the Fiber for the Technological Transformation of RI Health Care

June 11, 2012 For Immediate Release Contact: Dyana Koelsch dykoelsch@dk-comm.com 401.453.6161 (c) 401.497.4696 Lighting the Fiber for the Technological Transformation of RI Health …

June 11, 2012

For Immediate Release Contact: Dyana Koelsch dykoelsch@dk-comm.com 401.453.6161 (c) 401.497.4696

Lighting the Fiber for the Technological Transformation of RI Health Care

High Speed, High Capacity Broadband Will Enhance Patient Care, Provider Collaboration

Providence, RI: Medical consultations with physicians across the state, or across the country; ready access to electronic medical records; decreases in expensive and often redundant testing; opportunities for telemedicine; robust research and medical innovation - These are part of the future of healthcare, and all depend on an affordable high speed, high capacity broadband infrastructure.

Today, Rhode Island’s health care community marked a milestone in the installation of that infrastructure, with the CharterCARE Health System lighting of the new Beacon 2.0 fiber optic network. CharterCARE is the first health care system to light the new high capacity fiber network.

Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman Jim Langevin, Congressman David Cicilline and Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts, joined OSHEAN (pronounced ocean) and CharterCARE health system to mark the event.

Beacon 2.0 provides affordable, high capacity, broadband connectivity that will enhance the quality and efficiency of health care for patients and providers. Other health care institutions will soon follow including six hospital systems, 13 hospital buildings and two health care organizations.

Beacon 2.0 connects hospitals at ultra high speeds enabling the movement of digital images in real time between medical professionals. For patients that can enhance the quality and efficiency of care, supporting electronic medical records, allowing collaboration between medical professionals, and curtailing redundant testing that often drives the cost of health care up. It will also support medical research by connecting hospitals and universities on a dedicated high capacity fiber network providing faster data transfer and connectivity at affordable rates.

“Beacon 2.0 provides the cyber-infrastructure -the fiber optic superhighway- that can serve as the foundation for the health care system’s technological transformation,” said Tim Rue, chief technology officer at OSHEAN.

“CharterCARE is just one of the businesses that is benefitting from this increased connectivity,” said Kenneth H. Belcher, president and CEO of CharterCARE Health Partners. “The timing could not be better, as hospitals become more reliant on electronic medical records, digital images, and other vital information that will depend on higher broadband capacity. The benefits to our system -- formed just two and a half years ago -- are immeasurable, as patient information can now more readily flow from hospital to hospital and from physicians’ offices to our medical records department.”

Beacon 2.0 is funded by a $21.7 million federal stimulus BTOP grant and $10.7 million in private investment.

"Improving Rhode Island's broadband infrastructure is a smart investment that will enhance the way our hospitals, schools, libraries, and research institutions retrieve, use, and share information,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who sent a letter supporting OSHEAN's request for Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant funding in March of 2010.

“Today’s on-ramp to high-speed broadband for Roger Williams, Fatima and St. Joseph’s will help Rhode Island health care providers improve the quality of care we all receive, with better and more rapid imaging,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “The Beacon 2.0 network is yet another example of Rhode Island’s leadership in rolling out cutting-edge technological innovations.”

The Beacon 2.0 network which will also connect colleges, universities, schools, libraries and government offices, will provide necessary cyber-infrastructure to support the state’s growing knowledge economy and the hundreds of industries and jobs it is expected to create.

"With today’s lighting of our first heath care organization, and the lighting for universities and colleges following close behind, we are one step closer to creating the networked infrastructure essential to support Rhode Island’s growing knowledge economy,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “This project isn’t only a one time injection of spending into the economy; it is laying the foundation we need to support our students, expand our businesses, and improve the overall ability of our state to better compete with our neighbors."

Cox Business is the RI vendor that is installing Beacon 2.0’s 48-strand fiber across Rhode Island. Cox brings expertise and capabilities in building and maintaining the network, helping OSHEAN provide the high capacity broadband services to its non-profit members.

“Providing access to affordable, quality healthcare is one of the most important issues facing families and small businesses in our state today,” said Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts. “OSHEAN’s Beacon 2.0 network will provide critical broadband access that is essential for continued progress in health care- improving quality, supporting innovation and moving Rhode Island forward.”

“Cox’s commitment to serving the healthcare industry in Rhode Island has been a hallmark of our business for many years,” said Mark Scott, vice president of Cox Business New England. “We are proud to carry on that tradition in our partnership with OSHEAN, which will continue to stimulate the growth of the knowledge economy in our state.”

So far, 374 total miles of fiber has been installed. The cyber-infrastructure has been installed and tested in Providence, Kent, and Bristol counties, with Newport County currently in the testing phase.

The Beacon 2.0 network is expected to be completed by spring of 2013.


OSHEAN Inc., (pronounced ocean) is a consortium of non-profit organizations that was formed to foster the development of a communications infrastructure for Rhode Island's research, educational, health care, and public service community. OSHEAN is committed to developing network expertise among its member organizations and to creating an environment that encourages collaboration through shared resources, information and expertise.

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