Albany, NY – March 27, 2019FirstLight, a leading provider of fiber-optic data, Internet, data center, cloud, and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast, announced today that Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, has selected FirstLight to provide Internet connectivity throughout its campus. The upgrade enables students to collaborate on important projects regarding history, agriculture, and economics.

Hildene, taken from two Old English words meaning “hill and valley with stream,” is considered to be one of the nation’s most important Lincoln sites, second only to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL. Located in Manchester, VT, the site is far more than a historic gem. Built in 1905 by Robert Lincoln, the child of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd, the 412-acre estate is now home to a Welcome Center, Museum Store, historic home, restored Pullman railcar, miles of walking trails, and a teaching greenhouse. The complex is also home to a cheese-making facility and a multitude of gardens.

Hildene established a relationship with the local high school, Burr and Burton Academy, to provide classroom space and access to the greenhouse for opportunities to learn about agriculture, natural science, and economics. Some of the hands-on learning in and around the greenhouse consists of experiments with weather, crop growth, and soil health. Data analysis often requires real-time on-line collaboration with colleagues and experts located all over the world.

“About two years ago, we discovered that all of our users were experiencing sporadic outages at some point during the day, and connectivity was pretty bad,” explained Laine Dunham, Vice President and Creative Director at Hildene. “Some days, students couldn’t get on the Internet, and we knew we had to take action. To make matters more challenging, over the years, our staff has increased from 8 people to 32 people, each with their own devices and need for reliable connectivity.”

“We had a long-standing relationship with FirstLight (through Sovernet) for our phone solutions and had been pleased with its service and support, so we inquired if FirstLight could help us improve our connectivity,” continued Dunham. “FirstLight installed a new fiber network across campus, which provides a faster, more reliable Internet service for our staff and students.”

“This is a great example of how important a low-latency fiber Internet connection is to modern learning and teaching – especially outside the traditional four walls of a classroom,” said Kurt Van Wagenen, FirstLight President and CEO. “We’re proud that our fiber network and high-quality solutions are playing such a pivotal role in sharing the history and legacy of the Lincolns, as well as facilitating new discoveries in environmental science for students.”

More than 3,000 students from Vermont and New York visit Hildene each year. 

“To have the technical capability to share greenhouse data instantly and use an Apple TV to talk to an expert at a university, for example, opens up many more possibilities for our students,” said Paula Maynard, Group Tours and Press Director at Hildene. “That instantaneous collaboration and sharing of knowledge with the outside world is priceless.”

# # #