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Project-Connect to Enhance Link Among Islands (April 2, 2009)

To help better enable the transmission of critical knowledge, community services, and valuable resources including educational courses, workshops, and telemedicine, the Northern Marianas College is initiating a project that will establish point-to-point wireless network connecting Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

Launched in partnership with IT&E and the Emergency Management Office (EMO), “Project Connect: Inter-Island Distance Learning Network” is funded by the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) Grant.

The project aims to provide distance learning opportunities in education, telemedicine, cultural preservation, and business development using innovative Internet Communication Technologies (ICT).

“The enhanced connection between the three islands will result in a more reliable system that will connect the three islands,” said Juan L. Babauta, NMC’s ANA Project Director. “Ultimately, the project paves the way to enhance the variety and the quality of the program offerings that are made available to the Rota and Tinian Instructional sites.”

The College’s IT Department is leading the effort with assistance from the members of the Educational Consulting Foundation (ECF), who are on-island to completely set up the wireless connection that will link the islands. EMO has offered the use of their towers, on which IT staff will be installing radios and antennas. IT&E is providing additional towers on Rota and Tinian at a reduced rate and a dedicated DSL line used for the College’s video teleconferencing (VTC) activities.

“The project is a perfect example of the innovative technology initiatives that are being launched at the College,” said NMC IT Director Adrian Atalig. “We have many more projects that would benefit students and community members that will be launched in the coming months.”

“This project is one major piece towards NMC’s vision to be the technology leader for the CNMI and to provide state of the art learning technology for our students and the People” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. “We can now look forward to an enhanced and more reliable connection between Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.”

The ANA Grant promotes the goal of economic and social self-sufficiency for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Native American Pacific Islanders through projects planned, designed, and implemented by Native American community members to address the particular needs of their society.

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