State Majority Leader
State Senate Majority Leader speaks at the unveiling of the Adirondack Area Network.

New networking program unveiled at The Sage Colleges

ALBANY - A first-of-its-kind telecommunications network has been unveiled at The Sage Colleges in Albany and Troy.

The Adirondack Area Network (AAN), as the project is known, has been labeled the "next generation in telecommunications" and a "model for information networks in the United States."

Bell Atlantic funded the $1.36 million project through the Bell Atlantic Foundation and the New York State Advanced Telecommunications Project Diffusion Fund Committee.

"This network will forever change the way we learn, teach, do business and get information in New York state," said Jeanne H. Neff, president of The Sage Colleges, in announcing the network at a press conference on the Sage Albany campus.

The AAN is a public/private partnership of The Sage Colleges in Albany and Troy, Albany Medical Center Hospital, Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES in Malone, Champlain Valley Educational Services (BOCES) in Plattsburgh, Bell Atlantic, RADVision, VTEL, NYSERNET and New York State. It was cited at the recent national technology conference "Connecting All Americans for the 21st Century" in Washington, D.C., as one of a handful of information networks that represent the next generation of advanced telecommunications.

"The Adirondack Area Network is a unique partnership of government, private industry, education and health care providers that will benefit the capital region and the North Country," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. "This project is an example of the cutting-edge technology New York state needs to be economically competitive with other states and countries and lead our nation into the next century."

"This 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 the New York Capital District through an interactive community computer network" said State Sen. Ronald B. Stafford (R-Plattsburgh).
Today, more than 50 institutions primarily from remote areas within the Adirondacks are part of the AAN. The new technology provides them with Internet connectivity, distance learning, telemedicine and other network services. Prior the AAN's establishment, such applications were virtually nonexistent within the Adirondack Region.

"This network begins a new chapter in the social and economic history of the Adirondack Region," said Lee A Brathwaite, vice president/general manager of Bell Atlantic operations in northeastern New York.

Developed over four years, the AAN system uses components existing in current networks but in a novel way, explained Dr. David Bonner, director of technology initiatives at The Sage Colleges, who designed the system.

"The frame relay "cloud" is composed of existing copper wires, fiber optic lines and local telephone offices with special Bell Atlantic switches that "direct computer traffic. "By connecting hardware such as a router, Video Interface Unit, and a video conferencing computer to each AAN site through the Bell Atlantic frame relay cloud, extremely high quality interactive video is transported with data, such as Internet traffic," Bonner explained.

The cost of using this special AAN technology is a flat rate ranging from $750 to $900 a month for the connection compared to the conventional ISDN connection rate of approximately $100 per hour.