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In October 2014, ICN selected Fiberutilities Group, an Iowa based company, to provide technical staff for the operation and maintenance of the ICN. The managed services included: management systems, on-site technicians to staff ICN’s Network Operations Center located in Johnston, IA, and field support staff located around the state. Fiberutilities Group’s contract began in January 2015.
By statute, the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission (ITTC) is required to lease connections to schools, libraries, AEA’s, judicial, correctional services connections, and connections to state agencies that are paid with state funding. A connection is the physical connection from the Network to ICN’s authorized user location.
The state funded $35.5 million in installation costs for the connections to school, library, and AEA (Part III) sites as well as paying a monthly lease cost.
When Network construction plans were first implemented to connect K-12 schools, libraries, AEAs and state agencies, the legislature wanted the private telecommunications providers to have an opportunity to serve their local areas. Companies winning the leasing bids for schools, libraries and AEAs were also provided with funds to construct the required infrastructure.
ICN partners with the following private sector telecommunications companies to provided Part III leased connections. In total there are 330 part III sites leased in partnership with 42 vendors.
ICN is hosting health care connections for the Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program’s (IRHTP) statewide fiber-optic Network. The health care facilities utilize private Ethernet services and Internet, provided by the ICN, to exchange medical information including radiology readings, electronic medical records, and remote ICU monitoring as well as administrative data.
In 2014 ICN is connecting the second phase of healthcare users to the Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program (IRHTP) broadband fiber Network, which includes 89 original sites. Healthcare users can participate in the FCC’s Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program, which is the newest component of the Rural Health Care Program. Healthcare participants are eligible to receive up to a 65 percent subsidy for eligible expenses related to broadband connectivity, broadband management services, installation, and equipment enabling broadband.
Between 2007-2013, a total of 118 healthcare locations were added to the IRHTP broadband network through the Rural Healthcare Pilot Program. Each healthcare site purchased last-mile fiber access to their facility, last mile network electronics and participated in cost sharing to acquire middle mile network electronics. Current healthcare facilities are taking advantage of additional broadband capabilities, such as incorporating virtual data warehouse storage options for medical records needs, hosting email, and Office 365.
The overall goal of the IRHTP consortium, led by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA), is to deploy a secure, statewide, high-speed broadband network connecting rural hospitals to vital health care resources without geographic restrictions. Each IRHTP (hospital) site purchased last-mile fiber access to their facility, and is participating in cost sharing to acquire network electronics. ICN’s backbone completes the high-speed IRHTP core network by providing each core site with redundant 10 gigabit connections.
Headquartered in Des Moines, IHA is a voluntary membership organization representing hospital and health system interests to business, government and consumer audiences. All of Iowa’s 118 community hospitals are IHA members.
Iowa Health System (IHS) received a $17.7 million BTOP (Broadband Technology Opportunities Program) grant to upgrade and enhance the health system’s existing fiber network that provides connections to over 200 healthcare facilities.
In 2011, ICN connected 29 of Iowa Health System’s healthcare facilities to the HealthNet Connect fiber-optic network. ICN provided the sites with 100 Mbps (megabytes per second) capacity, which enables the deployment and use of various telecommunications services. This project is funded partly by a grant from the FCC’s (Federal Communications Commission) Rural Health Care Pilot program awarded to Iowa Health System.
HealthNet Connect is a fiber-optic network capable of transforming healthcare in Iowa by enabling healthcare providers to communicate medical information instantaneously across the state. Sharing of diagnostic information between rural hospitals and specialists in urban areas can be life-saving in times of emergencies. The connections will facilitate information sharing between healthcare providers in Iowa, Chicago, and Denver.
Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa Health System is the state's first integrated health system,. Through relationships with 25 hospitals in metropolitan and rural communities and more than 140 physician clinics, Iowa Health System provides care throughout Iowa and western Illinois. For more information about the IHS, visit http://www.ihs.org/.