Bell Atlantic, New York's largest employer and leader in state-of-the-art telecommunications technology, is working to promote a better understanding of the highly complex telecommunications marketplace in New York State.

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October 1998 Published by Bell Atlantic for Community Leaders in New York State


by David Bonner, PhD Director, The Sage Colleges Technology Initiatives

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The Adirondack Area Network was financed with $1.03 million in funding from Bell Atlantic as part of the New York State Advanced Telecommunications Project. In the Performance-Based Incentive Regulatory Plan for the company, The New York State Public Service Commision approved the distribution of $50 million over five years through a technology diffusion program. The purpose of the program is to bring advanced telecommunications to economically disadvantaged areas of New York served by Bell Atlantic.

The Northeastern Adirondack Region of upstate New a York is blessed with natural beauty, a clean environment, and population with a strong work ethic. However, it's mountainous topography, severe climate and geographic isolation from metropolitan centers combine to create transportation and communication barriers to the area's development.

Recognizing that advanced telecommunications service would provide solutions to the region's natural barriers, a consortium of 45 educational institutions, health care providers, and other community organizations set out in 1996 to create a comprehensive telecommunications network. This group formed the Adirondack Area Network (AAN), a collaborative effort that brings advanced telecommunications to the region, including interactive video for teleconferencing, distance learning and telemedicine; data exchange; Electronic Doorway Libraries; and Internet access. Since its creation, more than 50 additional institutions from a wide range of geographic regions have expressed an interest in joining the network.

State Senators Ronald Stafford and Joseph Bruno attended the network's inaugural teleconference. Sen. Stafford said: "The advanced high-speed technology will improve our rural areas' business climate, enhance health care services, and enrich educational opportunities by linking the North Country and New York Capital District through an interactive community network." Sen. Bruno noted: "This project is an example of the cutting edge technology New York State needs to be economically competitive with other states and countries to lead our nation in the next century."

Distance learning provides unique opportunities for schools by making education and professional development both accessible and cost effective. School-to-work programs, which depend on interaction between the business world and the classroom, can now be effectively connected. High school programs can be linked seamlessly to institutions of higher learning. The potential for telemedicine is tremendous. High resolution transfer of diagnostic procedures, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), X-ray and other tests, allows for expedited diagnosis and referral. Physicians can consult with specialists at major medical centers. Opport- unities for professional development also are greatly enhanced.

The AAN uses a frame relay network cluster designed by The Sage Colleges, VTEL and RADVision, and operated by Bell Atlantic. The consortium found this technology to be the most innovative, state-of-the-art, integrated solution available at an affordable cost to the end users. The network provides an integrated telecommunications solution, supporting two-way interactive video, LANS, WANS, data exchange, Internet access, and other technologies, and allows bridging to other frame relay clusters across the country. For more information, please visit our web site at