Gov. Mike Beebe Thursday morning announced the release of $635,000 to the University of Arkansas at Monticello for the construction of four microwave relay towers that will connect UAM Colleges of Technology campuses in McGehee and Crossett to the fiber network at the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s main campus.
The towers will provide the Crossett and McGehee campuses with increased broadband capability and access to state and national networks. Once the towers are in place, the technology campuses will have broadband service 13 times faster than they currently have.
“One of the things we’re trying to do is catch up with some other areas of the country in terms of technology of tomorrow, specifically as it relates to how technology of tomorrow influences education,” Beebe said to a standing room only group of business, education and community leaders at UAM’s Gibson Center.
“What we’re going to do is build some additional relay towers to get broadband to the Crossett and McGehee campuses,” Beebe said, adding that homes and businesses within a 20-mile radius of the towers will also benefit from increased access to broadband.
Once the towers are in place, the technology campuses will have broadband service 13 times faster than they currently have. “This will not only benefit our campuses but also the local communities we serve,” said UAM Chancellor Jack Lassiter. “The connectivity that will be available can be used to promote economic growth in southeast Arkansas.”
The $635,000 that will fund the construction is General Improvement Fund monies allocated to the governor.
“This is not my money and it’s not the Legislature’s money,” Beebe said. “It’s all of our money — it’s tax dollars — and I don’t know of a better way to spend your tax dollars than on education or jobs. If you get those two things right… all of those other issues that people face are easier solved.”
Bob Ware, vice chancellor of the McGehee campus, said the increased broadband access will faculty the opportunity to do things they haven’t been able to do in regard to online instruction because of the limited bandwidth they’ve had on the McGehee campus.
“UAM is very fortunate to have the support of Governor Beebe,” said Cliff Gibson, a member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. “He has been good to us in Southeast Arkansas and we appreciate it.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row]