LANSING — In the emergency room, every second matters. And when the threat has passed, making sure patients’ records are safe and secure also requires critical attention. Arialink, Mid-Michigan’s largest fiber optic service provider, has joined with the Memorial Healthcare Center to connect 10 rural health care centers and allow them to communicate with the community — and the world — at the speed of light.

“This will make a huge impact on patient care,” said Frank Fear, vice president of information services at Memorial Healthcare Center. “Memorial is committed to service excellence, teamwork and innovation, and this significant technology upgrade will help us serve our communities that much better.”

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Arialink is expanding its network footprint by roughly 100 miles, reaching into several new rural communities. Arialink will partner with Owosso service provider Daystarr Communications to help with the expansion that will connect 10 facilities in Mid-Michigan via dedicated fiber optic lines. These locations include Memorial Healthcare’s main campus in Owosso and nine satellite outpatient locations in the towns of Chesaning, Corunna, Durand, Ovid, Laingsburg and Perry.

This new project also allows businesses in the community to connect to high speed fiber optic Internet service that was not previously available. Daystarr is contributing existing fiber optic infrastructure in Owosso, Corunna and Perry to the network and is partnering with Arialink to help expand its service area to these new communities.

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“There is nothing more gratifying than knowing Arialink’s Healthcare ONE (Optical Network Exchange) will help improve patient care,” said Jason Schreiber, Arialink president and CEO. “Bringing these facilities into the network means even more physicians, hospitals and patients will have the fastest, most state-of-the-art technology in the world, regardless of their location.”

Funded in majority by the Federal Communications Commission Rural Healthcare Pilot Program, this will construct a $2.46 million light fiber information superhighway through each of the communities listed above. Established in 2006, the Rural Health Care Pilot Program encourages the development and use of broadband networking services by health care providers and institutions serving rural communities throughout the nation. Grants for building these broadband networks help increase rural Americans’ access to telehealth and telemedicine services capable of delivering health care information, consultation and other services.

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The project breaks ground in January 2012, with completion in early summer 2013.