Stillman College received $2.7 million to improve its Internet access and performance through fiber optic infrastructure upgrades.
The money comes from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration as part of the $268 million Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, targeting historically black colleges and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to install broadband Internet access service and train IT staff.
In particular, Stillman will use its grant funding to revamp its fiber optic network, installed in the late 1980s and 1990s, and its wireless network, said Abe Harper, Stillman’s chief information officer. The upgrades are meant to improve and strengthen the network infrastructure. The money will also go toward the purchase of up to 150 laptops for campus and community use at Sheppard Library and its upcoming cybersecurity and information technology training center, as well as hiring engineering faculty.
“This project is transformative – it will truly move Stillman forward,” said Stillman President Dr. Cynthia Warrick. “Additionally, these upgrades will provide much-needed support for our new cybersecurity and IT training center, dual enrollment and online programs, as well as our library and student initiatives.”
Fiber upgrades will begin this summer and be completed by fall 2023, Harper said. The wireless overhaul is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
“We can expect a significant improvement in our wireless network once the new fiber is installed,” Harper said. “But before we stop in May, we’ll have 10 Internet concerts on campus.