The Department of Veterans Affairs is extending its 5G hospital innovation project, beyond the Palo Alto-based hospital where it began 9 months ago, reports NextGov.
In addition to the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, the department has already begun work expanding the project to a VA facility in Lake Nona, Florida and the Puget Sound VA Medical Center in Seattle.
The department unveiled the project, named Project Convergence, in February as part of a public-private partnership with Verizon, Microsoft and medical software developer Medvis.
Through the collaboration, Verizon provides a 5G network connection. The 5G backbone supports Microsoft’s HoloLens information delivery platform and headset, which is used with imaging software from Medivis that officials can tap to transform complex health information into interactive 3D holograms, models and overlays.
To put into context what this means, when wearing the Microsoft HoloLens, “you can actually take a patient’s MRI or CT scan, and place it over the patient and actually see below the surface before you make any incision.” said Ryan Vega, executive director of the Veterans Heath Administration’s Innovation Ecosystem.
5G holds the promise of high speed, low latency internet connections, which officials believe willl revolutionize how the VA provides care. Vega added that Medivis’ solution is a Food and Drug Administration-cleared surgical navigation system.
Mayor de Blasio holds Verizon accountable to connect NYC households to broadband
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a new initiative aimed at tackling the digital divide in New York City—a settlement ensuring that Verizon builds out its FiOS footprint to 500,000 additional households.
Under the settlement, Verizon is compelled to prioritize the least-connected districts and ensure connectivity for every NYC Housing Authority residential building. The city began proceedings against Verizon due to the telecom’s failure to meet the terms of its cable franchise agreement to build out its Fios network, inked under the Bloomberg administration.
Due to the corporation’s previous failure to connect many buildings, large portions of New York City neighborhoods are under an effective monopoly, with only one cable and broadband provider, which risks rendering consumers with lower speeds and higher costs. The settlement will make high-speed fiber broadband available to more New Yorkers.
“Internet access is an economic right in New York City, no matter your ZIP code,” said de Blasio. “Tech giants will not stand in our way to deliver high-quality broadband to New Yorkers. They must be a part of the solution.”
“COVID-19 has further exposed the inequalities in internet access while changing the way New Yorkers work, learn, and live. We will continue to hold any corporation that fails to deliver on its promise to New Yorkers accountable,” de Blasio maintained.
Free internet in Chattanooga, Tennessee will outlast the pandemic
Over the summer, the Hamilton County public school system, which encompasses the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, announced it would be providing high-speed internet access to families with students on free or reduced lunch plans through a program called EdConnect. The service is funded through the next ten years, meaning the free high-speed internet service helping keep students connected should well outlast the pandemic.
EdConnect is the outcome of a collaboration between Chattanooga’s municipal electric utility, a broadband service provider to many Chattanooga residents, and the Hamilton County school board. The service is an initiative to accommodate online learning for low-income students in the district. Hamilton County estimated that close to 17,500 households within the district didn’t have high-speed internet access, prior to the pandemic.
The school board worked with EPB Fiber Optics to fundraise $8 million from foundations and community partners for the high-speed program. Additional funds were offered by the city of Chattanooga, as well as from the state and from federal CARES Act funds.
Jill Levine, chief of innovation and choice at Hamilton County Schools, says there had been conversations about providing high-speed internet access to students prior to the pandemic, but the need had never been so urgent. The fact that many students did not have high-speed internet, or any internet access at all, became clear to the district when online learning began.
WISPA announces Mark Radabaugh as the association’s new Chairman of the Board
The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association announced today that its Board of Directors chose Mark Radabaugh as WISPA’s new Chairman of the Board. Radabaugh will replace former Chairman Nathan Stooke for a one-year term.
In 1997, Radabaugh began providing Toledo residents with broadband connectivity through his company, Amplex Internet. Since then, his extensive experience in unlicensed wireless broadband delivery, network design and all facets of residential and business broadband service delivery has enabled Radabaugh and his partners to grow Amplex to reach 9,500 customers, covering a 2,000 square mile service territory.
Radabaugh has been on the WISPA Board of Directors since 2013, and from 2015 has chaired WISPA’s FCC Committee, overseeing the association’s regulatory policy formation and agency filings. From 2017 to 2018, Radabaugh also served on the FCC’s Broadband Development Advisory Committee subgroup on Removing State and Local Barriers to Broadband.
When accepting the post, Radabaugh said he was grateful that his colleagues bestowed this honor on him. “We’re a tremendous industry that’s offering real solutions which make people’s lives better. I’m proud I can do my part to help tell this awesome success story,” said Radabaugh.