Gov. John deJongh Jr. met Friday with officials from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after they completed a five-day site review of federally funded V.I. broadband projects.
According to Government House, federal officials reported that they were pleased with the progress made under the federal broadband grants received by the territory. In particular, officials of the federal agencies commended the progress made by the V.I. Next Generation Network in the construction of the territory’s fiber optic high-speed network as it nears its new official completion deadline of June 30, 2014.
NTIA and NOAA officials toured sites on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John where they reviewed many of viNGN’s fiber access points, including major ones called Super FAPs located on St. Croix and St. Thomas that are now directly connected to the Internet.
The federal officials purportedly visited numerous community anchor institutions throughout the territory that are scheduled to get free broadband access. Nearly 200 institutions are already connected to the high-speed fiber optic network.
Some of these institutions have entered into agreements with ISPs who are providing broadband service through viNGN’s network, according to Government House. Others are connected to the viNGN network and are awaiting Internet service from their ISP or ISPs that have agreements with viNGN and will provide service on the viNGN network.
NTIA and NOAA officials also met with V.I. agency officials. At a meeting with the Department of Tourism, Assistant Tourism Commissioner Chantal Figueroa discussed the importance of providing high-speed broadband to visitors in order to compete effectively with other destinations and to drive economic development.
At a visit to the Sprauve Elementary School on St. John, Principal Dionne Wells discussed how increased broadband capacity will allow the students to more effectively utilize the school’s two computer labs, improve the ability of teachers to use technology in the classroom and improve administrative effectiveness.
Federal officials also visited many of viNGN’s public computer centers, according to Government House.