Medical Center, School, should move ahead on internet needs

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 8:00pm

The demands and needs of the digital age have finally caught up with Block Island. The Block Island School and the Medical Center have reached a tipping point, and while the demands of the School have been widely known for some time, the Medical Center got some news recently that put one of their critical functions, the storage and access to online health records, at risk.

The key thing is what to do next, and there are two ideas on the table. One is essentially to have the School and the Medical Center take steps to meet their own needs without having to wait for the island-wide high speed network to be built.

The other idea, supported by the Broadband Committee, is to wire three main town facilities — the Island Free Library, the School, and the Medical Center — as a kind of beginning to the larger project. The Broadband Committee has always had in its back pocket that it would like to hotwire one facility first to show the community what high-speed internet can accomplish. 

This seems like to a good idea, but may end up being too complicated and take too long. It might also stir up some anxiety in those who do not support the island-wide network, in that they may think this prototype is the proverbial camel’s nose inside the tent. 

Dr. Clark said the Medical Center needs high speed internet now, which will also allow the facility to sign a financially-beneficial contract with a company that can satisfy its needs. 

The best idea is for the Medical Center, and the School, to forge ahead and take care of their own needs as a temporary measure and allow the larger project to continue to be discussed and debated at the ongoing Broadband meetings.