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Rhode Island’s New High Speed, High Capacity Broadband Infrastructure is Completed

Positions RI for Growth & Job Development

Providence, RI: OSHEAN today announced the completion of Beacon 2.0 – one of the biggest digital milestones to date for Rhode Island- a new 450-mile fiber optic cyber infrastructure that connects over 100 Community Anchor Institutions (CAI).


Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Governor Lincoln Chafee, Congressman Jim Langevin, and Congressman David Cicilline all joined Governor Lincoln Chafee and OSHEAN at the Providence Public Library where representatives of Rhode Island and SE Massachusetts colleges, universities, major health care institutions, state and local government, libraries and schools celebrated the feat.


Beacon 2.0 is one of the most significant new local infrastructure projects. It equips Rhode Island and South Eastern Massachusetts with an unparalleled cyber infrastructure, laying the foundation to support students, expand businesses, and improve the overall ability of the state to better compete on a regional and global scale.


“This is a significant milestone for the state and surrounding region,” said OSHEAN’s President and CEO, David Marble. “Rhode Island now has an amazing asset that enables it to be on the cutting edge of digital technology capability. Its uses are widely varied and extremely valuable allowing us to connect, collaborate, and innovate in a variety of ways. The infrastructure in place now affords major advances in everything from virtual classrooms to telemedicine.”


Beacon 2.0 was funded with a $21.7 million federal stimulus grant and $10.7 million in private funds. Senator Jack Reed, working with other members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation, spearheaded the 3-year federal initiative under a program entitled the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).


“Thank you to OSHEAN and their community partners for making this advanced fiber-optic network a reality,” said Senator Reed. “With the completion of Beacon 2.0, more Rhode Islanders in schools, libraries, research institutions, and hospitals throughout the state can connect to new opportunities, and access and share information. We need to continue investing in our digital infrastructure to ensure that all Rhode Islanders have access to reliable, affordable broadband access so they can connect, compete, and succeed.”


“Beacon 2.0 will provide Rhode Island’s medical, educational, and other important institutions with high-capacity broadband, which is essential for growing our state’s economy,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “This is yet another example of Rhode Island’s leadership in cutting-edge technological innovations, and I’m proud to celebrate the completion of the project.”


The Beacon 2.0 network provides necessary cyber-infrastructure to support the state’s growing knowledge economy and the hundreds of industries and jobs it is expected to create.


“Cyber-infrastructure provides the fuel to grow our knowledge-based economy. Today, we celebrate the completion of more than 450 new miles of fiber optic network across all five Rhode Island counties, which makes Rhode Island one of the top three in the nation for broadband coverage,” Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. “The result will be even more broadband capacity and digital literacy in Rhode Island’s schools, libraries, and hospitals. Broadband expansion is essential to fostering greater social, economic and political equality and narrowing income disparities throughout Rhode Island.”


Application examples include:

  • Video – Medical institutions are utilizing video capture and streaming for on-line learning and to deliver on-line certification training and testing.
  • Telemedicine – Healthcare Community Anchor Institutions are using the network for remote diagnostics and electronic medical records access.
  • Disaster Recovery – Community Anchor Institutions are utilizing the new network to create a disaster recovery platform for back up of critical infrastructure to a number of local and geographically disperse locations.
  • Emergency Management – Statewide coordination through an emergency management video system over the Beacon 2.0 infrastructure.
  • Access to the Worldwide Internet2 Research and Education Network – Internet2 is an exceptional community of U.S. and international leaders in research, academia, industry and government who create and collaborate to advance national and global research and education.
  • Cloud-based Digital Learning – High speed fiber connectivity allows access to a world of digital learning tools and learning management systems in the network for both Higher Ed institutions and K-12.

“Business, education, public safety, tourism – every aspect of our lives – is tied to technology. In order for Rhode Island to stay competitive on all fronts, and to attract the innovative, forwardthinkers who will grow our economy, we must make smart investments in technological infrastructure,” said Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI). “Information technology continues to be an industry with high-growth potential, and this successful grant program will lay the groundwork for new jobs, more efficient health care delivery and an improved, more modern system of education.


“When they have the tools they need, Rhode Islanders will outwork, outthink and outperform any of their competitors in this country or around the world,” said Cicilline. “The completion of this cyber-infrastructure project is connecting many diverse and vital institutions across Rhode Island so that men and women across this great state enjoy access to cutting-edge broadband infrastructure and the competitive advantage it provides.”