Videoconferencing Links State’s Critical Sites
Videoconferencing Links States Critical Sites
In the event of a terrorist threat of small pox or other biological warfare and natural disasters, North Dakota stands ready to broadcast emergency information to 41 strategic locations within the state, primarily hospitals. North Dakota is one of the first states in the nation to implement a planned network of this kind.
The BioTerrorism Wide Area Network (BTWAN) in North Dakota represents one of the nations most sophisticated high-speed, broadband networks for emergency responses, utilizing the fiber optic system installed and maintained by Dakota Carrier Network, an eight-year-old system owned by 15 independent local telephone companies. A federal grant from the Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) provided the funds for designing and building the BTWAN under the guidance of the North Dakota Department of Health and the North Dakota Healthcare Association (an affiliation of hospitals in the state). It consists of a massive high-tech videoconferencing system.
The network system provides face-to-face communication among the many different entities involved in disaster relief including the state health department and area medical centers. The network is also viable for daily communications and educational uses. AVI Systems of Bismarck installed all of the systems and partnered with Dakota Carrier Network for the network connection and MultiBand of Fargo, which installed the routers, switches, and T-1 plugs. Nexus Innovations, Inc., also based in Bismarck, provided project management.
We believe this is an important resource for North Dakota, said Governor John Hoeven. We appreciate the work of everyone involved, and we also believe it is a model that can help other states. The BTWAN system represents a practical and necessary health, communications and educational link for the many communities served by health care providers and emergency responders, explains Chip Thomas, President of the North Dakota Healthcare Association (NDHA). It is a cooperative result of a private/public effort in which all the contributing parties worked diligently to come in with workable solutions, timely execution of duties and within budget. We look forward to using the system in a variety of ways to meet the purpose of preparedness through enhanced communication capability.
Design and construction of the BTWAN involved some of North Dakotas most recognized information technology companies, including AVI Systems of Bismarck (with headquarters in Minneapolis), which installed all the video systems; MultiBand of Fargo, which installed the routers, switches, and T-1 plugs; and Dakota Carrier Network, which will manage the network and carry the signals. Bob Pope, President of Nexus Innovations of Bismarck, was project manager for the BTWAN, which took nearly a year to design and install.