The Federal Communications Commission has, since the Telecom Act of 1996, allotted about $400 million each year for aiding rural hospitals, clinics, and physicians through access to advanced telecommunications. Only a fraction of this amount has been awarded over the years of the program's existence. As a result, the Rural Health Care Pilot Program (RHCPP) was initiated. This program has as its goal to better utilize this funding to improve communications for rural healthcare.
The New England Telehealth Consortium was formed in March of 2007 in response to the creation of the RHCPP. In November of 2007, the FCC awarded a total of $417 million to 69 applicants for the program. NETC comprises over 500 sites and the largest award (approximately $24.7 million, funding 85% of costs) out of the 69 total awards.
As a result of the NETC RFPs from January 2011, The Board of Directors on June 29, 2011 selected the vendors to build and provide services for the NETC network. Vendors providing services and equipment to build the NETC network include: FairPoint, Oxford Networks, segTEL, Cogent, Internet2, Paetec, Cisco, and Hughesnet. ProInfoNet was selected to provide implementation management and network operations management. Contract negotiations were completed in September 2011. Since September 2011, NETC has been working with USAC to procure the "Funding Commitment Letters" required to release funds that will allow the NETC network can be built.
NETC is working toward better health care in New England through improved telecommunications. Goals of the project include, but are not limited to developing telehealth infrastructure, access to Internet2, and improving the transmission of electronic health records in one of the nation's most rural regions.
For more information on the project, email NETC.