May. 15, 2012
Governor John Kasich announced last week that Shawnee State University will be included in Phase Two of the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) expansion. Made possible with the support of Kasich, Representative Terry Johnson, and Senate President Tom Niehaus, this inclusion means an increase in Shawnee State's bandwidth capacity from its current one gigabyte to an eventual 100 gigabytes, aiding in increased research capabilities, advancements with high-tech areas such as gaming simulation, and economic development.
"This is a game changer for Shawnee State – and our entire region," SSU President Rita Rice Morris said. "SSU will work to partner with area educational institutions and health facilities for research. We are still learning what opportunities will be made possible with this outstanding resource, but we are already thinking of the possibilities for our immersive gaming program and its potential impact. With greater broadband width, paths could be opened for more entrepreneurship for students and faculty, for instance."
Governor Kasich spotlighted the need for increased broadband width in Ohio during his State of the State address.
OARnet is a division of the Ohio Board of Regents Ohio Technology consortium and is dedicated to education, research, and economic development. OARnet's fiber-optic backbone stretches more than 1,850 miles and serves Ohio's colleges and universities, K-12 schools, medical centers, public broadcasting stations, and state and local government.
The network's capacity enables Ohioans to conduct research, schoolchildren to take virtual field trips across the state and around the world, and doctors to seek second opinions on critically ill patients.
As an eligible participant in the OARnet Network, Shawnee State University will be able to extend access to this technology to private businesses that are sponsored by SSU.
"We want to use this exceptional resource of increased broadband width to maximize economic opportunities for SSU and southern Ohio," Morris said. "In the coming weeks, we will be exploring ways to work toward that goal under the leadership of our Board of Trustees and working closely with the Board of Regents and OARnet."
The expected OARnet expansion will take place later this year. Shawnee State University will be included in the second phase of the project with increased capacity expected to be available at some point in 2013.