Many students on college campuses take broadband internet for granted, but there are some colleges that are still trying to get permanently connected to the World Wide Web. This is because these colleges are located in rural regions and many are still dealing slow networks which make it difficult for professors and students to get online. However, new government grant are in the works in order to bring high speed broadband services to these colleges.
One college that hopes to take advantage of the new grants is the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope. Up until now, the college has been using T1 lines, but with the number of students and faculty trying to get online at the same time, it has been slowing the system down to a crawl. Even harder on the system have been the computer classes themselves which have resulted in a lot of interruptions in service. Making the problem worse has been the fact that the school has been dealing with budget cuts which have not allowed for any upgrades. However, the school has now applied for a share of a $102 million grant which is aimed at expanding high speed broadband services throughout Arkansas. In particular, this money is to go toward the Arkansas Research and Educational Optical Network at the state’s twenty-two community colleges. One goal of these funds is to allow two year colleges an opportunity to expand their courses. Officials with the school say that better internet service would allow them to have greater access to four-year partner schools and allow more opportunities for students.
Another college looking to take advantage of grant funds is Pulaski Technical College located in Little Rock, Arkansas. With more than 11,000 students in six different locations, the school has been limited in the kinds of technology it can deploy. Officials say that they currently can’t support media rich technologies on their current system. However, they say that with more computing capacity, the school could offer their students a better education. More money will also allow the faculty to collaborate with other faculty members at four-year institutions and throughout the world in a way that has not previously been possible.