Original Date: 01/22/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Electronic Village of Abingdon
The Electronic Village of Abingdon is an electronic network that provides public access to a full range of computerized information and communications services. This affordable business tool uses electronic technologies to benefit citizens and businesses within its Abingdon and Washington County service area.
In February 1996, the Town of Abingdon, Virginia realized the need for improved communications to enrich the economy of the town and the Washington County area. A plan, entitled Electronic Village of Abingdon (EVA), was developed to provide affordable broad bandwidth Internet/networking connections via a fiber optic cable. The plan called for the cable to be installed with minimal destruction to the town’s historical features and to keep installation costs as low as possible. In late 1997, a fiber optic cable was laid through a ten-block area consisting primarily of professional and residential businesses. Any building within 150 feet of this fiber backbone had accessibility to the network’s high-speed connections.
The EVA brings high-speed networking service to the community at processing speeds of either ten or 100 megabytes per second, four times faster than conventional modem speeds, depending on the type of service elected. Using digital satellite links (DSL), both the citizens and businesses within the community can connect to any permissible computer within Abingdon. These aspects not only tie individuals to business contacts, but greatly enhance the community’s capability to access education and civic organizations. This service is linked to 11 counties in Tennessee, providing educational programming for schools and the feasible transfer of technology information to industries within the region. The most advantageous feature is tele-medicine which involves the real- time transfer of patient files and medical history to other area hospitals of the region. The EVA provides full-time e- mail and Internet capabilities, and allows for electronic file transfers, remote computer operations, and video conferencing at the fastest connections possible.
The EVA network differs from others as its technology and scope of network coverage is much larger than a single or corporate business unit would attempt. The cost is comparable to conventional ISDN web service, typically $35 per month for a single computer ten-megabyte service and a one-time installation fee of $75. Requirements for using this network include a fiber transceiver or media converter (about $175) and a Pentium-class computer with a minimum of 16 megabytes of RAM plus Windows 98, Windows 95, or Windows for Workgroups software for any IBM compatible equipment. I-MAC computers come equipped with transceiver capabilities and Internet browsers, therefore e-mail programs can be downloaded once connected.
Multiple computers require a hub interconnection (starting around $125), but only one fiber transceiver is required. The monthly service fee decreases to $22 for two to three computers, and to $16 for four to six computers. Although the monthly service fee significantly increases for connections over seven, the service fee is still reasonable for the speeds, technical support, and service provided. Since the EVA was implemented, usage compared to availability is currently at 70%.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.