Charter and Oregon Health Network Create First National Model Advancing Healthcare and Creating Job Opportunities in Rural California and Oregon Communities
Completion of new fiber optic loop provides network redundancy and enhances telemedicine capabilities at Sutter Coast Hospital
Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) and Oregon Health Network, an OCHIN, Inc. Organization, today announced completion of a broadband fiber optic network—made possible by the Federal Communications Commission Rural Health Care Pilot Program—that brings advanced capabilities for video telemedicine, broadband Internet speeds and high definition television to customers in southern Oregon and Crescent City, Calif.
The completed fiber optic network is the final segment of an 87-mile route from Grants Pass, Ore. to Crescent City, Calif. consisting of a 720GB circuit with capacity to service thousands of people across multiple cities. It brings high-speed Internet, phone and high definition (HD) television service to numerous households and businesses, makes advanced telemedicine possible and creates opportunities for businesses such as call centers with heavy data applications. It also completes a redundant, fiber optic loop connecting southern Oregon and northern California, establishing a more reliable connection.
“The Sutter Coast project is an example of how bringing broadband Internet, phone and HD TV service to rural communities provides a way for businesses to expand and add jobs,” said Frank Antonovich, vice president and general manager for Charter in Oregon.
The $1.6 million investment included contributions from Charter, the Oregon Department of Education High Desert Education Service District and the Rural Health Care Pilot Program of the Federal Communication Commission through the Oregon Health Network. This innovative project is the first national model since the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and is a successful combination of public and private investment.
“This collaborative effort to extend advanced technology to communities we serve is part of our mission,” said Abigail Sears, chief executive officer for OCHN. “Our vision is to extend quality healthcare to every individual and to make a meaningful contribution in improving and saving lives. We’re proud of our relationship with Charter and their team for helping us make it a reality.”
According to David Itzen, county commissioner with Curry County in Oregon, “Access to high-tech telecommunications facilities will jumpstart economic development. It’s thrilling to see this take place.”
A new, 1GB circuit connects directly to Sutter Coast hospital with the capability to transmit a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) X-ray in less than one second or a pathological study—cardiologists working on an active X-ray table—in about eight seconds.
“This speedy network connection ensures we stay current with the latest technologies for our patients, and provides a way for us to advance the critical healthcare services we already provide to this community,” said Linda Horn, interim chief executive officer for Sutter Coast Hospital.