A new statewide digital network called NETWORK NEBRASKA "is providing valuable exchanges of information among government and education agencies in the state, and is poised to broaden services throughout Nebraska," according to L. Dennis Smith, President of the University of Nebraska.
Smith, Lt .Governor Dave Heineman, and Nebraska Commissioner of Education Doug Christensen briefed members of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee and invited guests on the new network at a meeting convened by Sen. Roger Wehrbein January 14.
Smith, Heineman, and Christensen are members of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission, which has championed the effort to connect Nebraska schools, colleges, university campuses, and state agencies via a high-speed network. The final phase of the "backbone" for the network has now been put in place, and the three wanted the senators to be aware of the new capabilities that are now available. Those capabilities include expansion to serve communities across the state.
"Now we need to provide the necessary training and support for all potential users, to help them embrace this technology," Smith said. "It will help them to do their jobs more effectively and ultimately improve our economy and the prosperity of the state."
A key feature of the new network is cost-effective broadband access to the Internet for education, government and health care. Alltel, Quest, and many other Nebraska telecommunications companies cooperated in creating the new high-speed service. "Older technology can now be eliminated and new Internet Protocol pathways installed," explained Walter Weir, Chief Information Officer for the University of Nebraska. "These new links are capable of delivering not just video, but data and voice communications in a single system" Weir said.