Access New Jersey, a partnership between Bell Atlantic-New Jersey and FVC.COM, soon will give New Jersey’s students access to a $55 million, broadband digital video network. Representatives of the two companies have been busy touring the state to demonstrate how the new network will work.
“The students of New Jersey are really going to reap the advantages of video technology faster than students in other states,” said Rich Beyer, president and chief executive officer of FVC.COM.
The Access New Jersey network comes in response to Gov. Christine Todd Whitman’s promise to “deliver high-speed access to every classroom in New Jersey by 2002.” The system will use FVC.COM video networking equipment to deliver live and stored video resources to schools throughout the state, reaching more than 600,000 students by the end of this year.
“By working with Bell Atlantic and FVC.COM to video-enable our classrooms, we are leveling the playing field for New Jersey’s students by delivering the finest quality educational resources to all schools, regardless of geographic or socioeconomic boundaries,” Whitman said.
Through Access New Jersey, which will be funded by the state, classroom sessions can be broadcast live to multiple sites, maximizing the impact of guest speakers or subject matter experts.
For example, several video classrooms can participate in a real-time interactive interview with a senator or the curator of a museum. This interview can then be broadcast live to classrooms throughout the state, while being recorded for replay at a later time as part of another class session.
The network’s video capabilities are accessed through FVC.COM’s new web-based video portal interface, bringing unprecedented ease-of-use to video applications in the classroom, the company said. Through the video portal, users can place a live video call, broadcast the call to multiple sites, record material, and view it later on demand.
These services are delivered over Bell Atlantic’s broadband network, using video networking products from FVC.COM and private backbone networking products from Cisco Systems. Bell Atlantic’s Data Solutions Group will provide all on-site network monitoring and support to schools using the network.
So far, more than half of New Jersey’s school districts have signed on for the service, said Peter Ventimiglia, vice president of external affairs for Bell Atlantic-New Jersey. He said schools that had been using Bell Atlantic’s Interactive Distance Learning service, the company’s previous video offering, will automatically be switched to the Access New Jersey network.
“Bell Atlantic is the first RBOC [regional Bell operating company] to deliver broadband video services on a large scale to its customers. Now they have raised the bar for telecommunications carriers around the country,” said FVC.COM’s Beyer. “Through our continuing partnership, we look forward to delivering broadband video services to other parts of the Bell Atlantic region as well.”
Cisco Systems Inc.