William E. Lewis
Vice Provost for Information Technology
Arizona State University
PO Box 870101
Tempe, AZ 85287-0101 USA
v: (602) 965-9059
f: (602) 965-8698
More equitable access to technology or electronic information; Local commitment to network-based activities
ASPIN (Arizona State Public Information Network)
Arizona State Public Information Network (ASPIN) is the result of recommendations that came out of the Arizona Strategic Plan for Economic Development (ASPED), which itself was the result of two years of discussions between Arizona government leaders, business executives and educators. The purpose of ASPIN is to promote the use of the information superhighway within Arizona by providing connectivity to the Internet.
ASPIN was designed to be a three-phased project, with Phase I being the connections of the three State universities — Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, and the University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson — to WestNet. This was in reality what existed when ASPIN was created. Included in this first phase was also the connection of the urban community colleges in close proximity to ASU and UA and the establishment of a Network Information Center (NIC) at ASU. These steps have been completed with NIC services currently operational.
Phase II of ASPIN was the connection of the eight rural community colleges to the Internet. A proposal was submitted to NSF and funded in the amount of $634,067. The award is effective September 1, 1993 and covers equipment such as routers, two years of line charges and three staff members to enhance the NIC support provided to these eight community colleges as they come on board. These three people will be distributed among the three State universities and will be able to draw upon other expertise from these universities to solve problems. They will also be used to provide training to the new users. The co-PI’s on this grant are William J. (Skip) Brand and Dr. William E. Lewis. It is anticipated that the connections to the rural community colleges will be complete in the early spring of 1994.
Phase III of the ASPIN project is the extension of the information superhighway into the K-12 arena. ASPIN is currently working with the State Department of Education to develop strategies to proceed with this next step in the ASPIN story.
ASPIN currently has 27 sites connected to the ASU hub. These sites include K-12, state and local government, and the private sector with connections ranging from T-1 down to 19.6kbps.
In 1992, the Governor’s Strategic Partnership for Economic Development (GSPED) was formed and in the fall 1993, the GSPED Board established as its number one legislative priority the expansion/creation of the statewide information infrastructure siting as benefits:
- Economic Development
- Quality Job Creation
- Global Competitiveness
- Electronic Commerce
- Technology Leadership
- Health Care
- Civic Networking – In the Public Interest
- Life-Span Learning
- Better, Cheaper Government
The organizational meeting of the GSPED Advanced Information and Communications Infrastructure Foundation was held in early November of 1993 and is proceeding at the time of the writing of this story.
In the early fall of 1993, the Governor appointed a Telecommunications 2000 Task Force to make recommendations as to the future structure of networking (voice, video and data) for the State. This group is currently meeting and has set a completion target of March, 1994 for completion of its report.
As can be seen, there is a keen interest in the information superhighway in Arizona and while we are not as far along as some states, we are making progress and have the advantage of being able to learn from the problems and success that other states have had.