Healthcare execs back New York gigabit broadband plan

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Healthcare leaders are backing a plan to bring ultra-fast internet service to the four largest cities in Westchester County, New York.

Executives from Montefiore Health System and telehealth vendor MediSprout attended the Westchester County Association’s announcement of a $750 million public-private plan to bring gigabit-level broadband to Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers in the next three to five years. 

At the Connected Health Conference last fall, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn called broadband connectivity the most significant foundation for disruption in healthcare.

Such service could revolutionize the way Lower Hudson Valley patients receive care, MediSprout CEO Samant Virk told The Journal News. The high-speed connectivity is expected to allow Westchester County healthcare providers to expand telemedicine and population health efforts and increase data sharing.

By signing a Smart City ComPACT, the cities will seek joint funding, share best practices, develop innovation districts and more.

“The world’s largest biotech company, Regeneron, and the world’s largest information technology company, IBM, are located right here, as are the world’s top healthcare systems ... so the potential is absolutely tremendous,” William V. Cuddy, chairman of the WCA’s Blueprint for Smart Growth initiative, said at the announcement.

Standard internet service is around 10 megabits per second (Mbps), while gigabit-level service is 1,000 Mbps. It’s available in about 50 cities, but often is restricted to business use. The WCA plan calls for speeds to exceed 5 gigabits per second available for homes as well as business use, which could well-position healthcare organizations for home-based remote care.