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Harford County Unveils Countywide Broadband Network (HMAN)

On May 22, Harford County, Maryland held a press conference to announce its high-speed fiber optic based network, which will connect government buildings, schools, and libraries while reducing costs. The fiber optic cable, known as HMAN, or Harford Metro Area Network will allow greater broadband access to residents. According to Ted Pilbil, director of the county’s ICT department, the HMAN will “upgrade the county’s computer network and serve as a communications backbone” for Harford.

Since its conceptualization five years ago, HMAN has grown both from the efforts of the Inter-County Broadband Network (ICBN) – a consortium of six Maryland counties – and a federal grant under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).HMAN press conference

As part of the fiber optics solution, Cisco helped guide the County into a design that was within its budget and met all its technical needs. More than 100 miles of fiber optic has connected approximately 100 institutions around the county. The design included a Metro Ethernet solution based on the ASR9K platform, which has allowed the County to replace its expensive leased lines with a wholly owned fiber optic network managed by the county. The network has the ability to add Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DMDW) optical technology to further expand the network capacity by a factor of 40x with additional equipment. Cisco’s flexible design allowed the County to reduce costs while providing high-speed connectivity to local schools, libraries, public safety offices, and economic development zones.

The HMAN has great potential to provide economic opportunities and bring business into Harford County. One such opportunity is the presence of “dark fiber.” In essence, dark fiber is when cables are not activated, which can allow a company to create its own private network. Furthermore, business that could not previously access broadband service from traditional carriers – whether due to location or cost – can now buy into a cost-effective, high-speed network. The data will move faster and with greater reliability and flexibility.

Alongside businesses, city and county government will also be linked on the broadband highway, offering endless possibilities for teleconferencing, data sharing, and video communications. Furthermore, HMAN will open opportunities for additional infrastructure for primary, secondary, and higher education.

By providing high-speed access to video, voice, and data for county organizations and residents, the HMAN will catapult Harford County into a technology center of the future.

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Unified Gateway: More is better, but sometimes less is more!

There are times where more is better; more sunshine, more vacation time, more cupcakes!

However, less is also good. Think of a round of golf, or perhaps root canals!

Or how about the quantity of customer premises equipment (CPE) you need to deliver a compelling video and data experience to your subscribers?

Imagine one box of tricks that does the lot… and more!

Well at Cisco, we just made one.

It’s called Read More »

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This isn’t your fathers connected life!

chowj-300x400By Joe Chow, VP & GM, Connected Devices Business Unit, Cisco

With the proliferation of IP devices and ubiquitous access to broadband, consumers are increasingly enjoying the benefits of “being connected”. But being able to adjust your thermostat while on vacation or remotely limit your child’s internet access is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a wealth of revenue opportunities that service providers can extract from the business market place.

One example is energy.

What does a service provider have to do with energy you ask? Well Read More »

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Cisco Supports Goals of Presidential Initiative to Connect More Schools and Libraries to the Internet

February 4, 2014 at 10:46 am PST

Cisco – with more than 15 years of experience in implementing technology solutions in K-12 schools — strongly supports the goals of President Obama’s initiative to connect more schools and libraries to the Internet, and at faster speeds.

We understand that technology is changing the world.  Our children aren’t just competing against the kids down the street for a spot in college or a job, but with children around the world.  So our children need to have cutting-edge technology in their hands and access to the vast amounts of information at their fingertips.

That’s where the federal “E-rate” program comes in.  E-rate provides discounts for Internet access and internal networking for schools and libraries across America.  Since its inception 15 years ago, E-rate has helped connect over 100,000 schools to the Internet in all 50 states.  Its impact on the education of our nation’s school children has been nothing short of incredible. Read More »

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How Access to Broadband Can Remove Barriers to Education and Empower Women

This blog was originally posted on the Huffington Post

Research resoundingly reveals that when girls and women are educated, the income they earn is primarily returned to their families, which in turn helps build stronger families and more stable communities. But can something as simple as a dirty bathroom break that positive cycle?

Unfortunately, in some countries it can, especially when adolescent girls reach puberty. UNICEF finds that 1 in 10 school-age African girls “do not attend … or drop out at puberty because of the lack of clean and private sanitation facilities in schools.” Girls’ attendance also drops dramatically if they are not well because of disease or poor nutrition, if the school is far away and parents are concerned for the child’s safety, or if families don’t see the value in spending limited funds on their daughter’s education.

To help more girls become educated, we must first remove these and other barriers that prevent them from attending and staying in school.

Many organizations are doing that — they are building schools in impoverished or politically and socially turbulent regions, establishing schools just for girls and women, and providing qualified female teachers to underserved communities, particularly in developing or underdeveloped countries.

Read More »

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