V.I. Next Generation Network selects computer center sites
Published: September 3, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Next Generation Network has finalized the locations of 30 Public Computer Centers that will be available for Virgin Islanders to have access to computers, digital equipment and the Internet.
The computer centers are funded through a federal stimulus grant and will be located in libraries, housing communities and nonprofit organizations across the territory.
The public computer centers will be outfitted with computers, software, printers, servers and accessories. The independent centers will employ their own staff to operate them.
A few already have opened in a "soft launch," V.I. Next Generation Network President and Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Kupfer said.
Once the language for a user agreement is finalized, six centers will be fully operational.
Kupfer said the user agreement will be something residents will have to agree to before using the computer center equipment.
It will detail appropriate behavior, what can and cannot be searched for on the Internet and other items for responsible use of the network's machines and Internet access.
Kupfer said the agreement should be finished within a few weeks.
The first six centers already have equipment and the staff is trained. As soon as the user agreement is complete, they will open their doors.
On St. Thomas, the first centers are at the V.I. Labor Department and the nonprofit New Image Foundation in Havensight.
On St. Croix, the sites ready to open are at the V.I. Labor Department, the Boys and Girls Club in Christiansted, the Walter I. M. Hodge Pavilion, and at the Louis E. Brown Apartments.
The V.I. Next Generation Network is a subsidiary of the V.I. Public Finance Authority and was created to build and operate the territory's first public broadband network.
The $117 million broadband expansion project is funded by four federal stimulus grants awarded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration - a division of the U.S. Commerce Department.
One of the grants, a $3 million Public Computer Centers grant - $4.4 million with other funding sources added - is funding the 30 computer centers.
One component of the grant is a partnership with the National Educational Foundation's Cyber Learning digital literacy program.
The Cyber Learning program offers a free, eight-week computer training class that encompasses everything from basic skills to prep courses for Cisco certification and project management testing. At the end of the eight weeks, participants receive a certificate which is backed by State University of New York Potsdam.
The site managers of each public computer center have been trained at the V.I. Labor Department to conduct the Cyber Learning program.
At last week's V.I. Next Generation Network board meeting, Kupfer said he promised the federal granting agency that they would have 25 Public Computer Center agreements signed by July 31.
"We actually exceeded the goal by two," Kupfer told the board.
He said the network could end up with 33 centers, but the staff is not sure if the budget is available to equip 33 sites.
In the next two weeks, a request for proposals will be issued to purchase about $1 million in computer equipment for the remaining centers, Kupfer said.
- Contact Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final computer center locations are:
The Adrian Center
Knolls at Contant
Bovoni Housing Community
Turnbull Regional Library
V.I. Labor Department
Knud Hansen Senior Center
Police Athletic League, Anna's Retreat
V.I. Resource Center for the Disabled
New Image Foundation
Long Path Community Center
St. Andrews Church
Seventh-day Adventist, Raphune Hill
Seventh-day Adventist, Charlotte Amalie
Aureo Diaz Housing Community
Louis E. Brown Villas
Walter I.M. Hodge Pavilion
Florence Williams Library
Athalie McFarlane Library
Library for the Blind
V.I. Labor Department
David C. Canegata Center
Senior Center Socio Recreational Center
Boys and Girls Club of the V.I., Christiansted
St. Patrick Catholic School
Seventh-day Adventist, Fredriksted