A small, rural municipality is well connected.

The town of Indian Lake (Hamilton County), located in the heart of the Adirondacks, about 100 miles north of Albany boast of a new fiber optic line providing the town with high-speed Internet access and video conferencing. Thanks to a partnership between Questar III BOCES, Adirondack Area Network, Hudson-Mohawk Area Health Education Center, Albany Medical Center, and Hudson Headwaters Health Network, a fiber optic line was installed a year ago providing the Indian Lake Central School, EMS squad, museum, community health center, library and town hall with a worldwide communications infrastructure.

Indian Lake residents wasted little time using their new technology and their return on their investment was immediate. The technology has proven to be a cheaper, more viable turnkey solution for the rural area. The cost is lower for all because they are sharing. The school and town were previously dialing long-distance using modems to connect. The new T1 line cuts the Indian Lake Central Schools Internet long-distance dial-up fees by 90% while increasing capacity by more than 24 times over.

The video conferencing unit provides the Indian Lake EMS squad with two-way audio/video connectivity with Albany Medical College EMS continuing education program.

Video conferencing is also allowing rural schools, like Indian Lake, to bridge the digital gap and provide students with what was impossible before. Classes can take virtual field trips and offer students opportunities they wouldn't normally have. The K-12 school has already used the technology to visit the Bronx Zoo and COCI Columbus Zoo. The video conferencing unit is mobile and can move from room to room and can also access satellite television.

 

 

 

 

"This is a way of communicating with the outside world without damaging the natural beauty of the area," says David Bonner, President and CEO of the Adirondack Area network. "This is a model for getting important information to rural areas."

There are currently 17 Questar III sites, each connected to the Adirondack Area network, that are using the Questar III Instructional Video conferencing service. Questar III and its participating school districts use video conferencing to offer high school and college level courses, professional development, virtual field trips and conduct meetings.

For more information contact Dan Sherman at 518-479-6846 or e-mail him at dsherman@questar.org or visit, the non-profit Adirondack Area Network's website at aanet.org or Questar III's web site at questar.org.

Also, visit indian-lake.com for information about the area.