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Ozarka College Completes Optical Network Project

Published on April 25, 2014

Ozarka College recently completed updates to the Ozarka Optical Network (Project OZONE) through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).  Project OZONE allowed the expansion of the Melbourne campus fiber-optic backbone to campus locations in Ash Flat, Mammoth Spring, and Mountain View. 

Project OZONE provides students, faculty, and staff at campus locations high-speed bandwidth as well as full access to Arkansas public four-year and two-year institutions through the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON).

In 2010, University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS) and Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON) received a three-year federal stimulus grant to connect the primary sites of 22 Arkansas community and technical colleges to the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON). Ozarka College's main campus in Melbourne was connected to ARE-ON in October of 2013; however, the grant did not provide connectivity to the other campus locations.

Ozarka officials responded by working closely with representatives of both CenturyLink and YelCot to quickly provide future-proof connectivity options to those locations.  "I am proud of our CIO and his talented staff for their vision and success in providing this powerful capability for all Ozarka campus locations," said Dr. Dawe, President of Ozarka College.

The campus project addresses the demands of record enrollments, the rapid increase in personal wireless devices, as well as Internet traffic vital to the educational process according to Scott Pinkston, Chief Information Officer of Ozarka College.  "Having this infrastructure in-place ensures that Ozarka College has the necessary connectivity that our students, faculty and staff need to thrive in the 21st century," said Pinkston.  "The connectivity will also offer opportunities for cost-savings through increased operational efficiency."

ARE-ON education sites have the ability to deliver distance learning, provide new opportunities for sharing curriculum and other resources, and to increase the ability of two-year colleges to meet the training needs of businesses and industries in their communities.  Providing the connectivity expands the reach of ARE-ON into three previously un-served (Higher Education) counties: Sharp, Stone and Fulton.

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