Governor Ken Mapp, together with other senior leadership members of the Virgin Islands Next Generation (viNGN) Team, toured the viNGN Network Operations Center (NOC) and a Fiber Access Point (FAP) facility earlier today. The scheduled tour was developed in order to provide an onsite perspective of overall viNGN operations and gain an appreciation of the high-tech broadband equipment and build out that has been completed and now provides access to the most dependable and highest internet speeds throughout the territory.
The tour consisted of meetings with several viNGN employees and listening to interactive briefings regarding the overall high-speed broadband operations. While touring the viNGN facilities, Governor Mapp, who also serves as the Chairman of the Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN), had the opportunity to acquire first-hand knowledge of some of the state of the art viNGN operational support, including how analytical software continually monitors the viNGN network to ensure when a network problem occurs within a particular network area. The analytical software automatically reroutes the primary middle-mile network path onto a secondary or tertiary path to maintain internet connectivity with all “last-mile” Internet Service Providers (ISPs) companies throughout the USVI.
Additionally, Governor Mapp, and other attendees, had the opportunity to view various fiber optic cable sizes ranging from 4 to 288-count fiber strands along with its ancillary equipment that allows up to 1 Gigabit of information via the internet to businesses, government organizations, and residences.
During the tour, Dr. H. Mark McGibbon, the viNGN CEO and President, stated he is extremely pleased that the federally and USVI funded “middle-mile fiber optic cable buildout” is officially completed. “Our focus now is on creating a business environment where local ISP companies are taking advantage, by connecting to the $115M viNGN fiber optic cable network infrastructure and providing access to their customers, said McGibbon.
As a wholesale broadband bandwidth provider, McGibbon went on to say,“It’s an exciting time at viNGN now that the middle-mile viNGN fiber optic infrastructure is completed. We are turning our attention to working with as many of our local ISPs as possible in order to provide state of the art, high-speed broadband internet service to as many businesses, government agencies, community organizations, and residents as we can throughout the territory.”
McGibbon concluded by saying,”In the many discussions I have been having with our local USVI ISP CEOs, they are realizing that by partnering with viNGN, it will allow their ISP companies a real competitive advantage to connect to high population density areas with high-speed broadband internet demands. Thereby, allowing these ISP companies to generate the revenue needed to reinvest in additional capital required for the completion of the last-mile fiber optic internet cable buildout.”
The Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN), is a corporate subsidiary of the Public Finance Authority responsible for oversight of development of the “middle mile” fiber network. The fiber optic cables will run along all major roads in the territory, with private Internet Service Providers able to connect to the network and sell higher capacity Internet access to their customers on the retail market at a lower price.
The project is partially funded through four grants awarded the territory by the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The 29th Legislature approved issuing a $38 million bond as a required matching contribution in April of 2011.