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The Growing threat of Childhood Obesity: Can it be solved?

On Tuesday, September 23, I attended a hearing on Marketing Food to Children and the affects of Childhood Obesity, which was held by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. The Congressional hearing room was packed, and the witness list included many prominent officials. Attendees included Julie Gerberding, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Jon Leibowitz, the Federal Trade Commissioner; and Kevin Martin, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Senators Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) stated that the increase in childhood obesity was the inspiration for holding the hearing by the two subcommittees. Senators and federal officials were concerned that the current generation of children would live shorter lives, primarily because of obesity. Numerous reports have been issued on the connection between childhood obesity and the media. A recent Federal Trade Commission study on Marketing, Food to Children and Adolescents was repeatedly referenced at the hearing. The study found that 44 major food and beverage makers spent $1.6 billion to promote their products to children and adolescents in the U.S. in 2006.

Senators and government officials across party lines agreed that the media can help change how kids pick foods and might help reduce childhood obesity.

What can be done to address this problem?

The Federal Government and the Congress are determined to address this public policy issue in the near future. Senator Harkin stated that next year Congress will be working on health care reform, including childhood obesity. Senator Durbin emphasized that School Breakfast and Lunch Programs which are run by the Department of Agriculture should be improved. Senator Brownback said that the U.S. should be looking to other industrial countries for advice on advertising controls. For example, the U.K, and most European countries already have advertising policies in place. Dr. Gerberding said that physical education and better nutrition have to be required at schools.

What is already being done?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have already taken a lead on this issue and have tasked several companies to study children's physical and dietary behavior. Specific examples include a $9.5M contract that was awarded in July 2008 to Westat. The purpose of this contract is to survey risk behavior studies and technically assist with school health education profiles, as well as survey children's dietary behavior. The CDC has another contract with the Rocky Mountain Center for Health Promotion and Education to evaluate school health policy development and implementation. GovWin is tracking the potential recompete of this contract.

Bailout Impact on Fed Budget: Unclear but Certain

As the debate surrounding the financial bailout - aka the Troubled Asset Relief Act of 2008 - continues, government and market experts are providing clarification about what the variables that will determine the impact of this effort. Peter Orszag, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, testified this morning on the potential impact of the Act on the federal budget.

Even with an undergraduate degree in economics, the details of the plan made my eyes begin to glaze over. But what jumped out at me from Mr. Orszag's testimony was the options the federal government has for reflecting the $700 billion in the federal budget.

The cost of the proposal could either be reflected on a cash basis or on a net-expected-cost basis, but the Act as it is currently written would use the latter approach. So rather than put it on the books as a cash outlay, the government would record the net cost of the asset purchases. In essence, this means recording the purchase cost MINUS the expected value of estimated future earnings from holding the asset. This is sort of like buying a $10,000 piece of art that the curator says will be worth $50,000 in 3 years. Rather than recording $10,000 in your family budget, you record its value minus the cost ($40,000). So your budget looks like you've actually gained $40,000. In terms of total assets, you have. In terms of cash to spend, not so much.

In reality, this approach is customary for many of the loans made by the federal government right now. And according to Orszag, the net cost that would make its way to the federal books would be less than $700 billion, depending on the value of the loans purchased. In his testimony today, he said,"The ultimate cost of the administration proposal is unlikely to reach $700 billion; but viewing the potential hazards associated with purchasing these assets, the government runs a risk of recouping significantly less than the price its pays for them. In addition, the government is likely to incur administrative and other costs associated with the program."

For agencies and contractors, the problem goes beyond accounting to behavior and psychology. Regardless of how the $700 billion is recorded in the federal budget, the bottom line is that everyone will know that it's there. Most of us don't have the patience or expertise to really understand everything that is represented in the federal budget. But the visibility of this effort and its impact on debt introduces uncertainty among agencies that are already facing tight budgets. Will Congress, knowing that we're treading the $1 trillion deficit line, reconsider its budget positions after the election? Will agency decision-makers begin reprioritizing proposed investments in preparation for budget decline?

Congress is busy dealing with the problem at hand; the ramifications of what some deem to be a necessary act will become clearer over time.

Maryland's DoIT releases CATS II RFP

On September 22nd, Maryland's newly formed Department of Information Technology (DoIT) released the much anticipated Consulting and Technical Services II (CATS II) RFP. The purpose of CATS II (member login required) is to procure information technology consulting and technical services for the State of Maryland. It is anticipated that the Master Contract resulting from this RFP will allow state agencies to obtain IT resources quickly and efficiently by issuing Task Order Requests for Proposals (TORFP) or Requests for Resumes (RFR) specific to its needs.

The Master Contract pertaining to CATS II is anticipated to run alongside the already existing CATS I (member login required) contract, and will replace it upon its expiration on December 31, 2010. During the remaining term of CATS I, CATS II will be used only if a TORFP will be not completed by the expiration date for CATS I.

The robust scope of the RFP covers 17 functional areas. The functional areas are as follows:

  • Enterprise Service Providers
  • Web and Internet Services
  • Electronic Document Management
  • Geographical Information Sytems
  • Software Engineering
  • Systems/Facilities Management and Maintenance
  • Information System Security
  • Application Service Provider
  • IT and Telecommunications Financial and Auditing Consulting Services
  • IT Management Consulting Services
  • Business Process Consulting Services
  • Tower Site Preparation
  • Tower Installation
  • Tower Equipment Installation and Services
  • Electronic Benefits Transfer
  • Media and Traning Center Support
  • Documentation/Technical Writing

The intent of DoIT is to award a Master Contract to all offerors that Maryland determines to be qualified. Vendors may propose to one, many, or all functional areas of this RFP.

A Pre-Proposal Conference will be held at 10:00 AM on October 8th at the UMUC Inn and Conference Center by Marriott in Adelphi, Maryland. Proposals will be due by 2:00 PM on November 5th.

AOC Net-Centric Conference: User-Centricity in the Defense Department Benefits the Entire Enterprise

On Monday, September 22, the Patriot's Roost Chapter of the Association of Old Crowes (AOC) gathered at Wentworth-by-the-Sea in New Hampshire to discuss the current net-centric environment as it relates to the military, civil and commercial domains. I won't bore you with details about the delicious meals or beautiful hotel as my colleagues might get jealous. However, the speakers included executives from the Departments of Army and Air Force as well as leadership from Air Force, DISA and FAA. I would like to provide some of the main takeaways from the conference.

Lieutenant General Bowlds, Air Force, Commander, Electronic Systems Center (ESC) - 3 Points

  1. The Air Force needs a better testing procedure. Lieutenant General Bowlds mentioned streamlining the Air Force's research and testing capabilities by providing a mentality similar to venture capitalists. For example, within the Missile Defense Agency, the "sidecar" program allows vendors to test their solutions in actual environments and using the systems where the solution will actually need to be functional. A greater focus on research and innovation will drive solutions never before considered.
  2. Currently, Program Managers (PM) are rewarded for creating a program, finding funding and developing a successful system. According to Lt Gen Bowlds, this is backward. PMs should be incentivized not to develop and fund programs/ systems, but rather to develop quick capabilities within existing programs and contracts. In this way, a transition can occur shifting the focus away from the old system in favor of efficient capabilities and acquisition strategies.
  3. In a statement echoed by Brigadier General Tony Buntyn, Bowlds made it clear that cyberspace must be view equally with other battlefield domains. This will allow cyber attacks to be viewed similar to any offensive attack against an American asset. When under attack in conventional warfare, warfighters are trained to fight through an attack. In the same way, it will be necessary to learn to fight through inevitable cyber attacks rather than attempting a full-scale identification and resolution of the problem.

Mr. Michael Krieger, Army, Deputy CIO

Echoing the sentiments I first heard from DISA's leadership, Mr. Krieger supports making practical changes not policy changes. A common theme from several speakers was the idea that the entire Department of Defense (DoD) is an enterprise and many officials need to start viewing their capabilities as applicable to the entire enterprise. Specifically, policy changes do not need to occur for acquisitions shifts to begin:

  • 30 page requirements documents rather than 300 page specifications
  • Incremental cycles, spirals and testing rather than multi-year procurements for entire systems
  • "Enterprise-wide" IT focus and solutions

Mr. Krieger also focused on the motivations and incentives of Program Managers. According to him, PMs are not properly incentivized because risk is not rewarded. "Success without relying on available, reusable capabilities should no longer be [considered] successful."

Rear Admiral Betsy Hight, Director, DISA

RADM Hight provided a fresh perspective on the common themes of coalition warfare and industry partnerships. First, she identified the many collaborators with which the US military now works – Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), law enforcement, coalitions, humanitarian aid workers and disaster responders. She recommended improved collaboration (as usual) but also touched on the value of these partnerships. The members of these groups can be valuable to the US mission in regard to human intelligence, cultural understanding and perhaps even access to certain regions. Understanding the relationship as a two-way street will improve operational success.

Second, RADM Hight expressed frustration with government contractors for repeating a tired routine when selling to DISA. Industry is asking the wrong questions. Focusing on the user and understanding net-centricity is really user-centricity, industry partners need to do a better job of displaying the capability that will reach the warfighter. Vendors should recognize what the solution will accomplish so that DISA can see the possibilities in a new technology.

Final Thoughts

The theme throughout the day was one of efficiency in acquisition and development to provide capabilities to the warfighter. While that may sound like a common theme throughout DoD events, the implications in the market could be anything but common:

  • Less RFPs and greater use of existing procurement methods
  • Incentives for testing innovative technologies and implementing them on a incremental or spiral process
  • Enterprise mentality stretches across armed services or even the entire DoD

Entering a time period of economic and political uncertainty, with already tight budgets, will certainly drive program managers to be more creative in developing capabilities and may require the vendor community to do the same when providing them.

Federal Bailout Price Tag Rivals Total War Spending

The federal government is on the brink of launching a mission to rescue the financial industry. The plan: buy up an estimated $700 billion in risky loans (many due to subprime mortgage lending) from ailing financial institutions. This follows the $200 billion government takeover of lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the $85 billion line of credit extended to AIG, and the $50 billion to bailout any money market funds that "break the buck." All told, the amount of money being directed to these efforts is over $1 trillion.

Details of the plan

The Treasury Department proposal to Congress authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to:

  • Purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution headquartered in the United States
  • Appoint employees to carry out the authorities in this Act and define their duties
  • Enter into contracts without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts
  • Designate financial institutions to act as financial agents of the government
  • There is already a call for strict oversight. According to the Wall Street Journal, most of the previous response to the financial crisis has been led by the Treasury and Federal Reserve, without much GovWin from Congress. Although lawmakers on both sides of the aisle concur that an agreement must be reached as soon as the end of this week, many are calling for more parameters around the Treasury's authority as well as the rules put in place for Wall Street. Timing is of the essence--the potential reaction and effect of the bailout relies heavily on just how quickly Congress acts. Debate around including language to allow judges to renegotiate mortgages for the public, as well as surrounding the compensation packages of Wall Street executives benefitting from this effort, could delay action. The speed with which Congress acts will determine the level of confidence the markets reflect.

    To put the proposed $700 billion cost of this plan into perspective, the total discretionary budget authority for FY2007 was $1.07 trillion (and estimated to be $1.15 trillion for FY08) and spending on the war through FY2007 was roughly $600 billion. As the details behind the latest bailout plan emerge, the potential impact of this action on the federal deficit, budgets, new administration spending, government human capital crisis, as well as IT and the supporting industries and businesses will become clearer.

    Federal Deficit

    The nation is already buckling under the weight of an estimated $482 billion deficit for FY2009. Before the current bailout situation, the budget deficit was headed towards $1 trillion a year by 2017 according to Peter R. Orszag, Director of the Congressional Budget Office. Economists now say that factoring in the $700 billion outlay to purchase bad loans could bring the government to the $1 trillion deficit mark as soon as next year. And although the federal government will be obtaining assets, it is purchasing very risky commercial debt and assets that they likely have to eventually sell for less than they paid for them. As the national debt increases, the federal government will be forced to borrow more from foreign entities. If this continues, the United States may begin to look like a subprime borrower itself.

    Budgets

    The government environment over the past few years has resulted in slowing growth (about 3.9% for FY2008 to FY2013). Budgets are already tight, with entitlement spending putting the squeeze on discretionary spending. IT budgets may be caught in between two rocks that are immovable: the bailout price tag (which will include costs above and beyond the purchasing of the loans) on one side, and rising mandatory spending ($1.45 trillion in FY2007) on the other. The concept of doing more with less will become even more critical for agencies moving forward.

    Spending in the new administration

    The new President will inherit a dire situation when he takes office in January. Congress and market pressures could seriously stifle the new administration's ability to implement many of the items on their agendas. Where would a President Obama find the funds to expand health insurance coverage? What about the tax credits for savers, college tuition, and universal mortgages--where would a President Obama find the roughly $119 billion per year for these initiatives?

    According to the Committee for a Responsible Budget (CFRB), Senator Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention included proposals totaling $547 billion. McCain's tab would total between $524 billion and $563 billion in annual spending and tax cuts. The pending bill authorizing this bailout could tie the hands of any President and puts pressure on both candidates to develop economic stimulation plans that reflect this new budget reality.

    Implications for Federal IT

    Technology Projects: In terms of selling to the federal government in these times, there's no doubt that the actions taken to fix the situation will cause significant constraints in the federal budget--both civilian and defense. The IT spending growth that contractors have seen over the past few years will likely be squeezed even more by increasing mandatory spending and debt. For agencies already dealing with shrinking budgets, the proposed bailout may mean fewer new projects and major system enhancements in favor of continued maintenance plans. Although agencies may delay some programs out of uncertainty, some technology spending will continue to simply keep the lights on.

    New Business Models: To offload some of the upfront capital expenditures for some projects, the government may consider new forms of contracting or types of delivery arrangements, such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and riskier forms of outsourcing, possibly even, again, business process outsourcing (BPO). For IT projects that generate government revenues, some agencies might consider payment in the form of revenue sharing with vendors who can help drive online adoption and, thus, contribute to cost savings for the agency.

    Risk: As the budgetary environment becomes more unstable for agencies, vendors may be asked to assume more risk, possibly with more reward for taking on the risk.

    What could the future hold for contractors?

    Incumbents Stand to Benefit: There's no doubt that all vendors will be asked by their government customers to help their agencies do more with less, and that challenge will pass down the line to subs. Existing incumbents who are considered trusted partners stand to benefit the most, but it also implies a more heated competitive environment. And because agencies will be focused on cost savings and systems that pay for themselves, they will look to the incumbents to find them.

    Challenges to Subs and Small Businesses: In terms of business operations, many businesses, especially small businesses, face some tough financial times ahead. Most businesses have a very uneven revenue stream, which requires reliance on credit. The instability in the mortgage market has bled over into other areas of the credit system, effectively making lenders and investors tight-fisted with funds. This will impact the staying power of subs and small businesses. Moreover, as agencies squeeze primes, primes will squeeze their subs. As IT spending growth is further curtailed, expect some contraction in the IT vendor community. There are likely to be vendors exiting the market, which will impact the many medium and small-vendors most, as well as consolidation in the market.

    Recommendations for Vendors

    While the government lays out its plan and the implications become clearer, contractors should:

  • Keep an eye on the appropriations process for signs of how the new expenditures will affect the outstanding spending bills currently making their way through Congress.
  • Keep an eye on the Treasury Department. Although the department will have the authority to appoint financial institutions to act on the government's behalf, it is highly likely that it will need additional resources--primarily technology and staff--to manage the workload that will flow into the department.
  • With a continuing resolution on the horizon, tight budgets, and soaring debt, it will be critical for government contractors to focus on illustrating cost savings and increased efficiency as the impact of the government's plan becomes clearer.

    Budget Agreement Closes California’s $15 Billion Budget Deficit

    In the midst of last week's legislative and executive pressures to pass a spending package, a solution to the budget impasse was not at all in sight. However, following a number of budgetary changes made by the legislature this week, the Governor has signed the latest version of the state budget.

    Last Friday the legislature submitted a final budget to Governor Schwarzenegger. In efforts to meet the Governor's demands on budget reforms, the legislature made several changes to the budget passed last Tuesday. Recent negotiations resulted in the concurrence of a more stable rainy day fund. Today, the Governor has signed the budget and has outlined the components of the state's budget agreement

    Although the budget compromise will allow for the repayment of billions of overdue dollars to state programs and personnel, perhaps much of the current distress revolves around the use of increased revenues to address the $15 billion budget shortfall. It is estimated that "$6 billion worth of new revenue will be (raised) by collecting some taxes earlier, removing some tax deductions for corporations and increasing penalties on companies that underpay taxes." However, early collection of taxes this year will ultimately mean less of those taxes to be collected next fiscal year. The Governor is aware of the flawed budget system and has pledged to continue working with the legislature on budget reforms.

    The state budget, as approved by the Governor, will allocate $104 billion in general funds. 2-3 percent of this amount is expected to be spent on Information Technology. As previously reported, California has a number of major IT projects currently underway.

    The California budget will support funding for variety of major IT initiatives that GovWin is in the process of tracking:

    - Department of Social Services - Case Management, Information and Payrolling Systems (CMIPS II)

    - Office of Secretary of State - Statewide Voter Registration System

    - State Controller's Office - 21st Century Project

    - Department of Education - California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS)

    - Department of Education - California Longitudinal Teacher Integrated Data Education System (CALTIDES)

    - Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation - Strategic Offender Management Systems (SOMS)

    - California Employment Development Department - Automated Collection Enhancement System Project (ACES)

    - Health and Human Services Agency - Electronic Benefit Transfer Services (EBT)

    In addition, the state has also established a five-year IT capital planning process requiring every department and agency to submit an IT capital strategic plan by October 1, 2008. The complete version of the Statewide IT Capital Plan will be supported by the Governor's budget and the CIO's Statewide IT Strategic Plan. Be sure to visit GovWin's California State Profile to keep abreast major developments affecting the state's IT budget.

    Iowa Interoperability Moves One Step Closer

    The State of Iowa has recently contracted Federal Engineering to assist the Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communications System Board (ISICSB) in developing and designing a request for proposal for a statewide interoperable communications system. The ISICSB will be working closely with Federal Engineering Inc. in the development of this request for proposal and it is expected that it will be solicited to the public in late September 2009.

    The ISICSB, formed in July 2007, was established to assist the state in the creation and implementation as well as ongoing operation of a statewide interoperable communications system. In 2006, prior to the establishment of the ISICSB, the state of Iowa solicited bid proposals for a feasibility study for a statewide interoperable radio system. A contract was awarded to CTA Communications and their feasibility was provided to the State in early 2008.

    The ISICSB, after careful review of CTA Communications' study, decided to release a second request for proposal. This RFP will be to provide and develop a detailed Interoperable Communications System plan. Request for proposal #0008005032 was released on May 1, 2008 and ISICSB board member Captain Todd Misel confirmed that an award has been made for that request for proposal to Federal Engineering Inc.

    As the need for statewide interoperable communications grows, additional funding will be necessary to allow for states to contract vendors to assist the state each step of the way. In order to prevent the implementation of a system that may not fit the needs of the state, feasibility studies and consultant will assist states as well as cities and counties in the development of detailed plans to ensure that every state has up to date communication systems.

    Green IT Saves Arizona $1.6 Million

    Vendors should take advantage of states' need to save money and protect the environment. By creating solutions that are able to quantify the benefits of green technology, vendors will increase acceptance and the demand of Green IT solutions in state departments.

    Arizona, like other states, is facing a unique situation in which they must continue to run the state while limiting cost and harmful pollutants. In Arizona, the use of green IT has prevented 760,773 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere this year. Arizona invested less than $300,000 into a software package used to calculate savings generated from using web conferencing. In less than a year, the state has saved more than $1.6 million. Currently, fourteen Arizona state agencies use web conferencing software and are included in this savings number.

    In times of tight budgets and increased sensitivity to the environment, it is imperative that states are able to quantify the impact and benefits of the solutions they are using. States are not only interested in the initial savings and environmental benefits of Green IT, but they would also like to view accurate calculations of energy efficiency and financial benefits in the future. While developing green products, vendors are encouraged to not only produce cost effective green technology, but also create products that are able to report energy usage and behavior. As vendors are able to provide quantitative data of the benefits of green products, states will readily accept Green IT and demand an assortment of green products with the same capabilities.

    Industry Experts: "DHS Ill-Equipped to Lead Cyber Security Efforts"

    Cybersecurity is a hot topic in the federal market these days - who's doing it, who's doing it well, who should be doing it, who has no business doing it. The Department of Homeland Security has been tasked with coordinating federal cybersecurity efforts, but experts think this is a bad idea.

    The House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cyber Security and Science and Technology asked the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency to come up with a set of security policy recommendations for the next administration. The bottom line according to James Lewis, Director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS, is that oversight of cybersecurity needs to happen at the White House, not DHS.

    Considering the scope of the mission and DHS' problems in addressing its own management challenges, the decision to continue with DHS in this role is questionable. It's also interesting that Congress has 86 committees that provide oversight to DHS, but DHS has been tasked with an incredibly difficult challenge that will only increase in scope.

    Experts say that DHS just doesn't have the authority to direct other agencies, and a lack of communication between the agency and other government and private sector entitities pose significant challenges. With the amount of coordination that must occur to launch the President's Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), experts are concerned that DHS might just have too much on its plate.

    The potential of what could happen without a coordinated cyber security strategy is frightening. Last weekend I watched the fourth installment of the "Die Hard" series, "Live Free or Die Hard," starring Bruce Willis. In the movie, a disgruntled Department of Defense infrastructure expert (who was thrown under the bus after trying to expose vulnerabilities in the nation's security) initiates a cyber nightmare - using hackers and programmers from around the world, he essentially takes out the computer and technological infrastructure of the United States. He hacks into the FBI Cyber Security organization, infiltrates the stock exchange, takes over the nation's satellites, shuts down the power of the entire eastern seaboard, and causes all around bad-guy mayhem.

    Fresh off the completion of our annual Information Security Forecast for 2008 to 2013, I found myself focusing less on the car crashes and "yipee kay yaa" and more on the idea of just how vulnerable our country is to cyber attacks. Yes, this is a Hollywood creation, but if the Air Force Cyber Command (currently on hold) can use the movie to underscore its need for cyberdominance so can I. How well has the government progressed in developing and coordinating the nation's ability to protect and defend?

    FCC Telehealth Grantees Are Looking for Contractors

    The FCC telehealth pilot grants are serving as a significant source of federal funding for promulgating telemedicine efforts around the country. With efforts underway, grantees have begun to release procurements seeking contractors to assist in various aspects of network assessment, design and implementation

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Rural Health Care Pilot Program Order in 2006 to provide funding for the construction of state and regional broadband networks to provide telehealth services throughout the country. In November 2007, 69 projects received funding in 42 states totaling $417 million in dedicated funds. In order to ensure quality and efficiency, FCC requirements specify that all projects must be competitively bid. FCC is working closely with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and awardees to facilitate the procurement process by making solicitations available in one online location. Projects with current open solicitations include:

  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium: Network Best Practices Assessment (Opportunity # 45314)- The scope of work includes an assessment of current network capabilities, the development of functional specifications and a comprehensive healthcare network design for Alaska. The selected contractor will analyze the existing networks, identify gaps and duplications in connectivity, and conduct a best practices study to determine the most effective solution for connecting providers statewide. The Consortium received an FCC grant in the amount of $10,425,250.
  • Colorado Health Care Connections: Managed Network Services (Opportunity # 50565)- CHCC is seeking a contractor for wide-area, managed Ethernet network services. The selected contractor shall coordinate activity to provide, manage and maintain the requested services and to obtain the necessary connectivity, hardware and service components of the network. The CHCC received an FCC grant in the amount of $4,621,554.
  • WI St. Joseph's Hospital Rural Healthcare Pilot Program Consortium: Telehealth Network Infrastructure (Opportunity # 50567)- The project will link two existing fiber systems in the city of Chippewa Falls to the hospital, two other facilities and Internet2 in order to expand telemedicine offerings. The scope of work sought for this project includes engineering, construction management and installation services. The Consortium received an FCC grant in the amount of $655,200.
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