Albany, NY – December 18, 2019 – FirstLight, 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 New Hampshire’s non-profit Mount Washington Observatory has selected FirstLight to provide fiber-based Internet service to support its research and educational programs, including video and weather data transmissions.
FirstLight provides dedicated high-speed fiber Internet for the Mount Washington Observatory to send weather data to various sources such as the National Weather Service, as well as for its numerous educational programs offered nationwide and its daily live feeds to the Weather Discovery Center in North Conway.
“Having a low-latency, high-availability network connection is absolutely critical to the operation of the Observatory and the Discovery Center,” explains Keith Garrett, Information Systems Administrator, Mount Washington Observatory. “Our fiber pipeline with FirstLight is used primarily for education and outreach to schools and universities, and for broadcasting weather reports for the Weather Channel or TV stations from the top of the mountain. People don’t realize what a profound impact the Observatory has on weather prediction and research, particularly on important topics such as climate change.”
Known as “Home of the World’s Worst Weather,” the Mount Washington Observatory was founded in 1932 and conducts daily weather observations. Weather observations are reported to the National Weather Service for use in nationwide forecasting models and regional reports, and Observatory scientists produce specialized forecasts for the higher summits of the White Mountains and greater White Mountains region.
With detailed climate data dating back to the organization’s founding, Mount Washington Observatory maintains what is now one of North America’s longest continuous climate records.
“In 2019, we received a wind gust of 171 mph; the strongest in 33 years. We were broadcasting in real time, and that’s when high-speed connectivity is crucial,” adds Garrett.
One program that requires high bandwidth and low-latency connectivity is Arctic Wednesdays, when area teachers venture to the top of Mount Washington via snowcat to take part in weather reporting, observation, and student-centered classroom learning projects. One of the highlights is when the teachers connects back to their classroom in real-time from the summit and share the experience direct with their students.
“We’re humbled to play such an important role in the mission of the Mount Washington Observatory and the Weather Discovery Center, and we’re proud that we were selected as the fiber provider for such a nationally respected organization,” says Kurt Van Wagenen, FirstLight President and CEO. “Our low-latency fiber network will help ensure that the important work of the Observatory is disseminated to the public, the scientific community and educators at large.”
About Mount Washington Observatory
Mount Washington Observatory is a private, nonprofit, member-supported institution with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth’s weather and climate. Since 1932, the Observatory has been monitoring the elements from its weather station on the summit of Mount Washington, using this unique site for scientific research and educational outreach. For more information, call (800) 706-0432 or visit MountWashington.org.