Arkansas State University-Newport was the site Tuesday for Arkansas e-Link, The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges’ “ARE-ON Road Show” discussion panel.

ARE-ON (Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network) is an economic development initiative represented by a high-speed fiber-based optical network wholly owned and operated by the Arkansas higher education community. Staff and faculty members from ASU-Newport, local healthcare officials and members of the public attended the discussion, with presentations being given on both the educational and telehealth benefits of ARE-ON. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences was awarded $102 million by the National Telecommunications Information Administration within the Department of Commerce to support a statewide $128 million broadband infrastructure that will serve community institutions across Arkansas. Arkansas two-year college students, including those at ASUN, will benefit greatly from the grant. The project, led by Arkansas e-Link, expands the existing ARE-ON high-speed broadband network to the public two-year colleges in the state, and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2013. Arkansas e-Link will utilize increased bandwidth and new equipment to support the platform for new and enhanced community services at more than 450 statewide locations, including ASU-Newport. As a product of this initiative, the state’s publicly supported community college students will be able to enroll in distance education courses in collaboration with the state’s four-year universities, use fiber-grade Internet connections at computers on public college or university campuses, take or teach online courses and join in research or students with other students and teachers across the state. The network will also be a shared repository for faculty research, instructional materials, lecture capture and more. It will also provide an environment of virtual learning for real world experiences in science, health care, performing arts, technical programs and more. Arkansas State University-Newport is a degree granting community college with campuses in Jonesboro, Marked Tree and Newport, Arkansas. It is a part of the Arkansas State University System. For more information about what is going on at ASU-Newport, visit us on our Facebook page at, where you will find news and photos highlighting achievements and events at all three campuses. Follow us on Twitter at @ASUNewport for quick information about what is going on at ASUN. This and other releases about Arkansas State University-Newport can be found online at