Grant funds fiber optic extension to St. Luke’s

Published 5:32 pm Thursday, June 18, 2009

A $10,000 grant will allow PANGAEA Internet to extend its nearby &dquo;speed of light&dquo; fiber optic network to St. Luke&squo;s Hospital. &bsp;

PANGAEA Internet, a non-profit business of Tryon-based e-Polk, Inc., and St. Luke&squo;s Hospital, received the grant from the Unrestricted Fund at the Polk County Community Foundation. &bsp;

PANGAEA Internet executive director Ron Walters said, &dquo;We are extremely thankful to the foundation for funding this long-awaited project that will deliver to St. Luke&squo;s the same lightning-fast Internet connection being used by Polk County government, Polk County Library, Polk County Schools, Isothermal Community College, the Town of Tryon and many businesses throughout the area.&dquo;

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Alexander Bell, St. Luke&squo;s Hospital&squo;s interim chief executive officer, added, &dquo;Among the many benefits, this technology will allow professional staff to review mammograms and other digital images from remote workstations, will allow real-time consultations with remote facilities and physicians, and will significantly broaden our capabilities and the resultant service levels to our patients.&dquo;

Since 2003, PANGAEA Internet ( has expanded its fiber optic network to 120 miles in Polk and Rutherford counties and received more than $2.5 million in public funding. The nonprofit organization now serves 42 customers at nearly 100 separate locations. &bsp;

A private, not-for-profit community hospital, St. Luke&squo;s provides 24-hour emergency care, general medical-surgical care, intensive care, and inpatient geriatric psychiatric care. A full-service acute care facility, St. Luke&squo;s offers lab and radiology services, wound and hyperbaric care, outpatient surgery including general, orthopaedic and ophthalmic procedures, physical, occupational and speech therapy and in home services.