Arkansas State University-Newport saw significant improvement in the speed and bandwidth of its on-campus internet service this week when the college completed its connection to the statewide ARE-ON network.

As a result of the new connection, ASUN students will now 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 campus, take or teach online courses and join in research 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 was connected to the network Monday at approximately 7:00 p.m. “We were so glad to get connected,” said Tamya Stallings, ASUN Director of Computer Services.  “It has been a three-year project for us.  Our bandwidth went from 12 megabytes to 100 megabytes when we connected, so the biggest change that users will notice is the speed.” 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. First envisioned in in 2010, 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 across the state 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 statewide before the end of 2013.