Florida LambdaRail High-Speed Network Seen as Big Boost to Education, HealthcareFriday, December 10 2010

News Chief correspondent

WINTER HAVEN – Florida LambdaRail has arrived in town, bringing with it higher-speed Internet, greater security and endless research capabilities.

Business and community leaders braved cold weather and gathered Wednesday evening to celebrate the launch of Florida Lambda Rail at the Six Ten Plaza and Inland Fiber and Data campus downtown.

“We’re here to celebrate what we know will be a significant economic development opportunity for Winter Haven – Florida LambdaRail,” said Bud Strang, president of the 6/10 Corporation and Inland Fiber and Data Technology Park.

Florida LambdaRail is now one of 15 service providers housed at Inland Fiber and Data, located at 199 Ave. B, N.W., in the former Verizon telephone company building.

During the short program, representatives from three organizations already on board with LambdaRail – the University of South Florida, Polk State College and Winter Haven Hospital – spoke of the significance of having a local connection in Winter Haven.

“The importance of LambdaRail is the ability to connect,” said Michael Pearce, chief information officer for USF and board member with Florida LambdaRail.

“At the heart of LambdaRail is the driving need to move forward facilitating partnerships with universities, research communities, governmental and health organizations through emerging technologies,” he added.

Marshall Goodman, the chief executive officer of USF Polytechnic, described LambdaRail as “an amazing pathway to commerce.”

Goodman remembered the vision of Marlene Young, the late Winter Haven mayor, who he said first brought the building currently housing Inland Fiber and Data to his attention four years ago. Young had touted the building’s existing fiber-optic lines and the possibilities they offered.

Eileen Holden, president of Polk State College, said she expects the college to transition to the LambdaRail system during spring break, when the college will be closed.

“We’re really looking forward to tapping into the larger community to enhance our curriculum offerings and our ability to exchange information,” Holden said. “We’re very excited there is a LambdaRail connection here in Winter Haven.”

“What LambdaRail is bringing to the students is access to the world,” she added.

Lance Anastasio, president of Winter Haven Hospital, spoke of opportunities for enhanced cooperative medical research and communication throughout the state, particularly in light of the hospital’s advancement in robotics and microsurgery.

“It will allow us to do things we once thought impossible,” Anastasio said.

The evening culminated with Winter Haven Mayor Jeff Potter leading the crowd in a countdown to a laser-light show illuminating the side of the building with a globe containing an outline of Florida and a moving banner of “Florida LambdaRail.”

“This is one of the best presents Winter Haven could receive this year. This is an exciting event,” Potter said.

Online since 2005, Florida LambdaRail is an ultra-high-bandwidth network dedicated solely to research. It is designed to send massive files at much higher speeds than other Internet providers.

A branch of the National LambdaRail system, Florida LambdaRail enables universities and their partners to transcend distance and collaborate on advanced research, education, and economic development activities through a high-performance experimental, research and production, networking and support infrastructure.

Its primary uses are in health care, government, and education and research.