Stillman College has received $2.7 million to improve its internet access and performance through fiber optic infrastructure upgrades.
The money comes from The National Telecommunications and Information Administration as part of the a $268-million Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, aimed at historically Black colleges and minority serving institutions (MSIs) to install broadband internet access service and train IT personnel.
Stillman in particular, will use its grant funding to overhaul its fiber network, installed in the late 1980s and ‘90s, and wireless network, said Abe Harper, Stillman’s chief information officer. The upgrades are meant to improve and strengthen network infrastructure. The money will also go towards buying up to 150 laptops for campus and community use at Sheppard Library and its upcoming cybersecurity and information technology training center, as well as hiring faculty in technology.
“This project is transformational – it’s really going to move Stillman forward,” said Stillman President Dr. Cynthia Warrick. “Additionally, these upgrades will provide the much-needed support for our new cybersecurity and IT training center, dual-enrollment programs, and online programs, as well as our library and student initiatives.”
The fiber optic upgrades will begin this summer to be finished by Fall 2023, Harper said. And the wireless network overhaul is expected to be finished by the end of 2023.
“A gross improvement of our wireless network can be expected once we have the new fiber installed,” Harper said. “But we will have 10 gigs of internet on campus before we break in May.