Y2K connects U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas are now connected

by the first phase of a wireless network funded through their government's

Year 2000 readiness program.

Wave Wireless Networking, based in Sarasota, Fla., announced last week that

the first phase of the project, valued at $750,000, was complete. The project

began in October with the goal of connecting all the islands' government

agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Justice and Finance

Departments, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the USVI police headquarters,

said John Elliott, the company's director of Caribbean sales.

Because the USVI government offices involved in the project share large

amounts of confidential, legal and financial data, the network will include

high bandwidth and heightened reliability. The old wired network's infrastructure

was so weak that light rains could disrupt service and hurricane damage

could shut down the network.

Based on Wave Wireless' previous success in helping the islands' Department

of Education develop a weather-resistant network, the company submitted

a proposal for the governmentwide system that no other vendor matched, Elliott

said. The rest of the network, which is privately funded and valued at just

under $1 million, includes only federal government connections and should

be complete by the end of the year, Elliott said.

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