Rural Nebraska Healthcare Network Readies $20M Fiber Optic Medical Network

John Commins, May 6, 2010

The Rural Nebraska Healthcare Network, which includes nine hospitals and clinics in western Nebraska, said it is finalizing the installation of a $20 million fiber optic medical network.

Using funding from the FCC's Rural Healthcare Pilot Program, RNHN said it expects to launch the fiber optic network project sometime this summer and complete work by fall 2011.

"This fiber network will facilitate the deployment of advanced medical technologies, and vastly improve patient care and physician communication," said Lisa Bewley, CIO for Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, NE.

The RNHN will partner with Zayo Group, a Colorado-based provider of bandwidth infrastructure and network neutral co-location services, to build the network. Other commercial telecommunications products also will be offered in under-served rural Nebraska. Zayo is providing some funding for the project.

The proposed 750-mile fiber network spans 12 counties in western Nebraska, and will connect to national research networks such as National Lambda Rail and Internet 2 in Denver. Adesta LLC, a Nebraska company, will break ground on network construction this summer.

The project has been two years in the planning. And the final stages of federal approvals are expected this spring.

The nonprofit Rural Nebraska Healthcare Network includes: Box Butte General Hospital, in Alliance; Chadron Community Hospital, and Chadron Garden County Health Services, in Oshkosh; Gordon Memorial Hospital; Kimball Health Services; Memorial Health Center, in Sidney; Morrill County Community Hospital, in Bridgeport; Perkins County Health Services, in Grant; and Regional West Medical Center.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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