Focus: Richmond gets wired. (Regional Report East).If Richmond Power & Light sounds like any plain vanilla Refers to the bare minimum of functions that are known to be available in an application or system. Contrast with bells and whistles. municipal electric company, think again. Behind the prosaic name stands a powerhouse of information technology called Parallax parallax (pâr`əlăks), any alteration in the relative apparent positions of objects produced by a shift in the position of the observer. In astronomy the term is used for several techniques for determining distance. Systems. Parallax offers all the sophisticated communications services you would expect such giants as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint to deliver.
Businesses, schools, professional people and individual households in this eastern Indiana city no longer have to sign up with some remote multinational provider for their networking needs. Parallax can deliver Internet dialup, commercial bandwidth Commercial bandwidth is a term for the regular capacity of the telephone network required for intelligible speech. It was defined as 300 hertz to 3,400 hertz, although the modern PSTN is theoretically capable of transmitting from 0 Hz to 4,000 Hz using ISDN. , even Web hosting Making a Web site available on the Internet. Many ISPs host a few personal Web pages for an individual at no additional cost above the monthly service fee, but the address is subordinate to the ISP; for example, www.friendlyisp.com/pat_smith. and design. And because Parallax is local, it offers person-to-person support and advice to subscribers.
But what is an electric company doing in the Internet business? Of Indiana's 72 municipal electric utilities, RP&L is the only one doing it. David Osburn, RP&L's general manager and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. , can explain.
"One reason is diversification," says Osburn. "There is a growing trend across the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. for utilities to look for other services they can offer their customers. It seemed like a natural path for us to take."
Besides that, Osburn adds, "We felt that Richmond was really not up to par in its telecommunications offerings. We knew we could step in and provide what was really needed."
During the past 15 years, RP&L has strung 45 miles of fiber-optic cable throughout the Richmond area. With the infrastructure in place, RP&L approached the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission two years ago for permission to get into the business of e-business.
In September 2000 the IURC IURC Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved the application. Immediately, RP&L created its Parallax Division and purchased a local Internet service provider Internet service provider (ISP)
Company that provides Internet connections and services to individuals and organizations. For a monthly fee, ISPs provide computer users with a connection to their site (see data transmission), as well as a log-in name and password. last April, giving RP&L a starting customer base of nearly 2,000 members. At the same time, the utility installed powerful new servers enabling Parallax to provide a very high bandwidth network, suitable even for videoconferencing.
"We have a state-of-the-art, metropolitan network, as good as you find in any city," Osburn notes.
Parallax is focusing its high-bandwidth fiber-optic system on the business, medical, government and education sectors. "We will be laying the additional 40 miles of fiber-optic cable strategically so that we can serve any business in the community," says Rich Cody, manager of the telecommunication division.
Cody adds that Parallax is in the process of becoming a Tier One provider. "It's a status that gives us the latitude of not having to go through a lot of phone company switching networks," he points out, "I think we can compete against Verizon, AT&T or Sprint in terms of price and service." Parallax promises to string fiber-optic cable into any business and offers bandwidth ranging from 128 kbs to a T-1 line that can pipe 1.544 megabits per second (unit) megabits per second - (Mbps, Mb/s) Millions of bits per second. A unit of data rate. 1 Mb/s = 1,000,000 bits per second (not 1,048,576).
E.g. Ethernet can carry 10 Mbps. .
Renee Oldham, director of Main Street Richmond-Wayne County, thinks RP&L's decision to jump into the telecommunications business was "absolutely brilliant."
"We are a relatively small community. It would have taken us forever to get this kind of infrastructure if we waited for the private sector to do it. But here you have a public utility, which can spread the costs around, stepping in and helping the private sector. This network helps reposition us for the New Economy marketplace."
RP&L's network offers unlimited possibilities, says Oldham, who turns on her own imagination as to what some of those might be. "It means you can build those so-called electronic Smart Houses in Richmond; that's something you see only in big cities. So you have a unique quality-of-life feature for our community." Oldham also envisions huge potential for Richmond's medical community. Reid Hospital & Health Care Services and all the medical offices and clinics along Chester Boulevard and elsewhere will be able to do live conferencing, share medical records and images with each other--or other medical facilities in the world for that matter.
Diane Roberts, vice chancellor vice chancellor
n. Abbr. VC
1. A deputy or an assistant chancellor in a university.
2. A deputy to or a substitute for a head of state or an official bearing the title chancellor.
3. for academic affairs at Indiana University East Indiana University East is a regional campus in the Indiana University System. It is colloquially also known as IUE. It is located in Richmond, Indiana, in Wayne County, Indiana. in Richmond, is chair of the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County Wayne County is the name of sixteen counties in the United States of America, some named for the American Revolutionary War general Anthony Wayne:
"The service is a great alternative to what else is available," Roberts says. "RP&L provides a bandwidth that some operators can't offer, and there is a greater flexibility of service that can accommodate industry, business, governmental units and the nonprofit sector."
All of Richmond's schools and higher-education institutions are hooked into RP&L's fiber-optic network and are working together to find educational uses for the system. That's why WayneBrain--a consortium of RP&L, all secondary schools, IU East, Ivy Tech IVY TECH Ivy Tech State College (Indiana Vocational Technical College System) and Earlham College--was created a few years ago.
"The school corporations have been getting together to talk about what their needs might be in terms of educational content," Roberts says. "When they report to us--WayneBrain--we'll see which institution can provide a particular need."
Wes Miller, director of media services at Earlham, represents the college on the WayneBrain board. "As an example, a Japanese-language class at Earlham could be broadcast directly to screens in a classroom at Richmond High School Richmond High School can refer to one of these schools: