ISP Delays Debut of Advanced Videoconferencing Network in Central New York

The Syracuse MetroNet, an advanced videoconferencing network developed by the Community and Information Technology Institute at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, was scheduled to begin a host of pilot projects last month, but complications with the Internet service provider scheduled to support the test beds have postponed the project's launch.

Many in the Syracuse community will be able to use the network, including the Onondaga County Department of Social Services, several nonprofit organizations and a health science center.

The only question is when. The local ISP who had agreed to support the projects has backed out because Bell Atlantic, which is providing the backbone for network, is scheduled to launch its own ISP in the area in December, said Wayne Miner, associate director of CITI.

Miner is talking to Bell Atlantic about using the company's ISP for the project and will know in the next two weeks if the pilots will be put in place or delayed. "We're looking to move ahead quickly with this in the next two weeks, and if that doesn't happen, [we will be] putting it off until the second or third week of January," Miner said.

The pilot projects will enable agencies to test a low-cost, high-speed videoconferencing system that uses telephone lines and the Internet. SIS faculty, staff and students will run the program, which relies on Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line technology. ADSL involves a high-speed modem to transmit data over phone lines 100 times faster than current modems. It also allows users to connect to the Internet while using their telephones for other purposes.

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