About the IRHN

The Illinois Rural HealthNet is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the management of a statewide communications network exclusively for the use of healthcare providers, which can include hospitals, health clinics, mental health clinics, educational institutions and medical specialists. Funded in part by the Rural Health Care Pilot Program of the Federal Communications Commission, the IRHN provides the high-speed connection that is necessary to improve access to medical applications for rural hospitals and clinics.

What is the monthly cost?

The monthly cost for connecting an IRHN location to other IRHN locations ranges from $750/month for 100 Megabits/second, to $1200/month for 1 Gigabit. For traffic into the public Internet, ISP access is $4 per Megabit. For example, for $850/month, a hospital would have 100Mbps connection, upstream and downstream, to other IRHN hospitals, specialists, radiologist services, and Internet2, and 25Mbps connection to the public Internet.

Is that the only cost?

There is a single one-time cost for connection to the network, which varies depending on how far the location is from the IRHN fiber backbone.

What does the IRHN connect to?

Hospitals and clinics connected to the IRHN can transmit data four ways:
  • Locations on the IRHN can transmit directly to and from other IRHN locations with no exposure to the public Internet.
  • Locations on the IRHN can transmit directly to and from Internet2 addresses.
  • Locations on the IRHN can transmit directly to and from the public Internet.
  • Cloud services.

Who runs the IRHN?

The Board of Directors includes representation from Northern Illinois University, the State of Illinois and the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network, among others. The network itself consists of fiber optic cables and services that the IRHN has contracted for via the FCC/USAC procurement process. Daily management, operations, and maintenance is handled by INOC, a world-class Network Operations Center company. The IRHN Service Level Agreement matches or exceeds those of major telecommunications carriers.

Who manages the IRHN?

The IRHN is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 entity governed by a Board of Directors that consists of a wide variety of health care related professionals in Illinois. The board has retained Fiberutilities Group to manage the day to day operations of the IRHN. Fiberutilities Group works in conjunction with service providers and support vendors from across the state to operate the network.

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