Groups plan Internet service for minority universities

November 27, 2001

Two non-profit organizations said they are developing a joint project to offer satellite-based Internet service for educational purposes to minority universities in rural and isolated areas.

The Internet Satellite Project will be developed by The Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center of Ohio (ITEC-Ohio) and the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC). These organizations are currently working on the project’s infrastructure for educational institutions.

According to their joint statement, “the purpose of the project is to improve research, instruction and teaching in (American Indian) tribal universities, historically black and Hispanic universities, and in entities serving Latinos.”

Many such institutions are located in remote areas that are either beyond the reach of land-based Internet connections or where the service is available only at prohibitive cost.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide a $4 million grant toward the cost of the three-year project, according to IDEC-Ohio director Pankaj Shah.

ITEC-Ohio has experience in cutting-edge educational technology, as it already provides national satellite-based videoconferencing services.

ADEC President Janet Poley said that the Internet Satellite Project will start in January 2002 and will initially consist of 50 sites throughout the United States.

Poley added that service may be extended to 500 sites if the project shows the hoped-for results.