By Martin J. Kidston
High-speed networking has come to Havre, and with the new technology, information is moving faster than a speeding bullet, able to reach the world in a single bound.
Its the new T-1 cable and it has opened up a world of opportunity to this otherwise remote region.
Associate Professors Roger Stone and Jay Howland teach computer information systems at Montana State University-Northern. In 1997, they established the Internet Business Incubation Center an outlet to give both existing and start-up businesses a chance to conduct Internet commerce. The idea was a success, and as the IBIC grew Stone and Howland saw the need for faster Internet access speeds, while giving their students real-world training in the computer field.
What happened then was, we needed better access to the Internet than what we had, Stone said. We put out a bid requesting a business partner that would provide us with that better access.
Stone said that InfoMine, an Internet service provider based in Helena, responded favorably to the request. A partnership was born.
What we achieved with our business partner was a high speed data line into the Ryan Building, called a T-1 cable, Stone said. We also achieved the ability to offer dial-up connection services to students, faculty and staff at a discounted rate.
Stone called the partnership a win-win deal, giving the students high-speed Internet access at a discounted rate. More importantly, the students get the experience of running its operation.
We employ students, Stone said. Its a co-op program, and it creates practical experience for the students.
With the T-1 cable in place and an army of trained students at their disposal, the Internet Business Incubation Center is ready to kick the Hi-Line economy into the next century, where Internet commerce promises to be an economic necessity.
Stone said the Internet Business Incubation Center takes start-up or established businesses, and gives them a chance to buy and sell products on the Internet by creating a commerce site, or a web page, where they can advertise their products.
It gives them a chance to break out of a geographical boundary, Stone said. It has a definite advantage for those of us doing business in a rural setting.
Stone said that InfoMine will begin offering its Internet service to the Havre community.
InfoMine has been providing networking and Internet services to the Havre Public School District and the Havre-Hill County Library since 1997.
How much faster is the T-1 cable?
Its the difference between a car and a jet, Howland said, adding that it passes information 24 times faster than standard lines.