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Fiber network to help link 400 New England health care facilities

Pat Wellenbach | AP
Pat Wellenbach | AP
A FairPoint Communications sign is shown in front of various transmission lines in Portland on Monday, Feb. 8, 2010.

BANGOR, Maine — FairPoint Communications has won a four-year contract worth more than $16 million to support an effort to provide ethernet service to more than 400 health care facilities in northern New England.

The contract with the New England Telehealth Consortium, a collection of businesses, agencies and providers scattered throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, allows FairPoint to help build a network to link the 400 primarily rural health care facilities, FairPoint announced in a press release last week.

“FairPoint has invested more than $190 million in communication infrastructure and technology to upgrade our state-of-the-art fiber network in northern New England and we will leverage this network to serve the technology needs of the consortium,” said Jeff Allen, FairPoint’s executive vice president of sales.

The network will link rural facilities to urban hospitals and university health care sites throughout the three states.

“The contract with FairPoint allows NETC to provide a sustainable broadband health care network to greatly improve the capability and efficiency of health care in northern New England,” said Jim Rogers, president of ProInfoNet, the firm selected to design the network.

Bangor-based ProInfoNet is one of eight vendors involved with the network project, according to Rogers. As an offshoot of the project, his company created a network operations center and a new data center that brought seven new jobs to Bangor, Rogers said.

The operations center will monitor and manage the network. The center went online Nov. 19 and is running data tests before it begins to bring health care groups onto the network, Rogers said.

The sharing of patient information among the New England health care organizations will help ensure that patients receive the best care possible, according to NETC President Brian Thibeau. Thibeau also serves as chief administrative officer for Penquis CAP in Bangor.

“The network will provide health care providers with quick and convenient access to the latest research and medical advances, speed the sharing of medical records and provide access for remote medical diagnostics and surgery, dentistry and behavioral health treatment,” Thibeau said.

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