Updated February 23 at 11:56am
12/7/09 01:55PM

Local Technology Non-Profit Coalition Celebrates 10th Anniversary

For Immediate Release December 7, 2009 Contact: Dyana Koelsch dkoelsch@nharbor.com 401-831-1200 Local Technology Non-Profit Coalition Celebrates 10th Anniversary …

For Immediate Release

December 7, 2009

Contact: Dyana Koelsch

dkoelsch@nharbor.com 401-831-1200

Local Technology Non-Profit Coalition Celebrates 10th Anniversary


Gov. Carcieri Picks OSHEAN Over 57 Others to Submit

Technology Stimulus Grant Application

OSHEAN (pronounced Ocean) is proud to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year as a nonprofit coalition of universities, hospitals, government agencies and other nonprofit organizations which provide innovative Internet based technology solutions for its members.

Started in 1999 with a National Science Foundation grant, a Slater Foundation Grant, and a discussion between URI, Brown, and RINET, OSHEAN (Ocean State Higher Education Economic Development and Administrative Network, Inc.) has grown to 28 members including 17 institutions of higher education, 6 healthcare agencies, and numerous other public agencies, including schools and libraries through its member RINET. OSHEAN’s dedicated communication infrastructure for the research, health care, education and public service community now affects over 350,000 individuals including hospital patients and physicians, university students and professors, library patrons, and school children and their teachers.

“In the past 10 years OSHEAN has pioneered work to help our members find technical solutions for their organizations that are affordable, secure, and comprehensive,” said Joseph Pangborn, OSHEAN Board Chair. “OSHEAN has built a reliable communications infrastructure for our members while also contributing expertise and resources to a wide range of initiatives.”

OSHEAN has a long record of creating practical applications and collaborations among its members to make a difference in people’s lives. Here are just a few:

• Coordinating the administration of the H1N1 vaccine to thousands of Rhode Island school children is a massive organizational task. OSHEAN worked with its member RI DMAT to develop a Microsoft based emergency personnel management tool that integrates the States’ medical reserve core, disaster medical assistance team and volunteer health professionals into one management interface. OSHEAN put in place a special H1N1 server to handle the 900% increased computer traffic. The result- RI is already receiving high marks for its efficient vaccine distribution.

• Increased video streaming means higher network demand. OSHEAN members nearly doubled their usage while watching the inauguration of President Obama. OSHEAN’s robust network was able to handle the record high traffic level and also provided members with access to a multicast feed of C-Span via Internet2.

• ConnectED Connects ED: In the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech tragedy, OSHEAN members banded together to explore emergency notification systems available to schools in Rhode Island. With the purpose of ensuring communications to students, faculty and administration during a crisis, after a thorough investigation, seven members selected the ConnectED service provided for OSHEAN by Blackboard, Inc. Roger Williams University, one of the first adopters, immediately put the service to use on its campus, where it has developed into a true aid for campus outreach.

• As part of the Northeast Research and Education Network, OSHEAN provides members access to the high speed fiber optic network that connects and unifies research and education communities in New York and New England. This allows some of the most prestigious universities in the world to explore global resources that utilize ultra-broadband application.

• The Hurricane Katrina Lesson: After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in late August 2005, several large institutions, including New Orleans’ Tulane University, were without computer service for several days while backup equipment was being set up in Houston. To make certain this didn’t happen in Rhode Island in the event of a disaster, OSHEAN established a disaster recovery site removed from Rhode Island complete with the dedicated fiber to connect its members, including all of the institutions of higher education in Rhode Island. The Safe Harbor offsite disaster recovery facility provides members with facilities to deploy the level of back-up required, from web presence to full scale fail-over support.

OSHEAN’s decade long history of pursuing opportunities for local, regional and national collaborations has created an environment for nonprofits to share resources, information and expertise. In 2008 alone OSHEAN saved its members $2.5 million. As it enters its second decade OSHEAN will continue broadening its communication infrastructure to connect members.

“We are continuing to concentrate on helping our members find ways to continue collaborating and to weather the current economic downturn” said George K. Loftus. “As a first step, OSHEAN is actively seeking federal stimulus money to help expand our network to bring the required capacity to underserved members in geographically challenging parts of our region.”

In August 2009, OSHEAN submitted a grant to seek funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's (ARRA) Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) to expand its existing dedicated optical network. An investment of $31.5 million to expand the existing next-generation broadband utilizing dedicated fiber optic networks would provide the increased capacity to 22 research and education-focused organizations in Rhode Island. The funds would create over 70 new high-wage high-skilled direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs.

Gov. Donald Carcieri selected OSHEAN’s proposal over 57 others that would have affected Rhode Island. “I strongly recommend that OSHEAN be the recipient of this competitive grant opportunity,” the Governor wrote to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which will be considering all the applications. OSHEAN’s application “crosses all the categories and meets all of my criteria,” Gov. Carcieri added.

“We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish by working together with our members over the past ten years,” said Loftus. “Winning this grant would give us enormous momentum as we head into our second decade.”


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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