MOREnet invests and expands fiber infrastructure in southeastern Missouri

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April 7, 2014

Project increases and strengthens the statewide reach of the University of Missouri System

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Missouri Research and Education Network (MOREnet), a business entity of the University of Missouri System, today announced a partnership with Sho-Me Technologies to expand the fiber infrastructure for high capacity, low cost Internet access in the southeastern area of Missouri, an area underserved by existing broadband infrastructure. The new long-term commitment from MOREnet and the University of Missouri will spur economic development in all areas of Missouri, another example of the system’s significant influence on the entire state every day.

"The University of Missouri has a major presence in every region of our state, and is a driving force in the economic wellbeing of all Missourians," said Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System. "MOREnet’s expansion in southeast Missouri will have a profound effect on the entire region, bringing greater technology to where it is scarce and improving the lifestyles of the area's citizens."

"By increasing the available bandwidth and helping to stabilize connectivity costs for years to come for our schools, libraries and government organizations in southeast Missouri, we are enabling education, health, cultural and social resources to reach more Missourians in a more efficient manner," said John Gillispie, executive director of MOREnet.

The upgraded Internet infrastructure will further enable distance learning and ensure students receive equitable access as they prepare for college and career readiness. The capacity that will be available to each participating site will be able to grow beyond one gigabit per second (1 Gbps) and enable educators to accelerate the use of technology in their lessons, adopting innovative student-centered learning tools for both K-12 and lifelong learners.

"This proposed infrastructure project will ensure that Poplar Bluff Schools and other school districts in southeast Missouri will be prepared for expansion and growth without concerns about connectivity issues because of costs," stated Jim Thomas, director of media services for Poplar Bluff R-1. "This allows school districts to focus on the mission of serving needs of students and not worrying about whether we will have enough bandwidth for adding or expanding programs."

Bringing robust and reliable Internet access to this area of Missouri will benefit health care through the Missouri Telehealth Network, offering local communities greater access to healthcare specialists, while broadening remote educational opportunities for health care providers and clinicians wishing to learn and collaborate via technology. Local citizens who utilize public libraries for services such as genealogical research, adult literacy skills or career enhancement will also benefit from the upgraded infrastructure.

"The Sho-Me Technologies network is continually looking for new telecommunication opportunities for rural Missouri with the latest products and services to improve education and commerce through technology. This project continues our strong partnership with MOREnet and will provide numerous schools and local communities in southeast Missouri with high-speed broadband communications," said Gary Fulks, general manager for Sho-Me Technologies.