Idaho expands broadband
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Nov 07, 2002
Eighty percent of the population in southern Idaho will have Internet broadband
connectivity by year's end, according to a representative from Syringa Networks,
a consortium of a dozen independent telecommunications companies that is
spearheading the initiative.
The prospect of providing affordable high-speed Internet access for
residents and businesses will greatly boost economic development, said Rick
Gerrard, Syringa's sales and marketing manager.
Although there are pockets of Digital Subscriber Line service in the
region, the development of the $36 million network — an interconnected series
of fiber-optic cable rings totaling 1,400 miles — will provide much better
and faster connections, he said.
It will benefit populations from Boise to McCall, 90 miles to the north,
and out to the eastern border toward St. Anthony. When completed, it could
serve up to 150,000 people.
Early last year, the state legislature passed a 3-percent tax credit
for companies investing in broadband technology to help provide additional
equity for the project. The consortium also is getting financial assistance
from a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that provides loans and loan
guarantees for rural broadband deployment.
Nortel Networks has provided three multiservice switches — its Passport
15000-VSS product — said Errol Binda, a senior Nortel manager for product
marketing. The advantage is these switches support multiple data applications
and services and can be deployed on Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Frame
Relay, IP, and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS).
"It's not only providing connectivity, but the key thing is the preservation
of the qualities of service," he said, referring to a network's performance.
"What ATM as an infrastructure gives you ... [is that it] ensures high quality
connections for things like video and voice. Without that ATM layer, you
don't have the ability to efficiently use that."
Performance is important in a rural area, he said, especially as the
potential and need for telemedicine and distance education applications
Binda said Nortel, which is helping Syringa deploy the technology, will
provide additional multiservice switches as the network is developed further.