Thursday, April 26, 2012

MCNC Advances North Carolina's Golden LEAF

The first round of MCNC's $144 million Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI) is complete with all fiber now actively in service to Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) including K-12 schools, universities, community colleges, health care facilities, public health facilities, libraries, research institutions, and other sectors of CAIs in western and southeastern North Carolina.

The GLRBI is funded through grants from U.S. Department of Commerce's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and significant matching funds from private donations and investments including a $24 million investment from the Golden LEAF Foundation. Once complete through two phases, the GLRBI will greatly expand the reach and capacity of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) in the state.

Some highlights:

  • All North Carolina Community Colleges have been connected to NCREN;

  • The video services infrastructure on the network was upgraded;

  • East Carolina University received a 10gig network upgrade and now serves as a hub for most of eastern North Carolina;

  • the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville now has a 10gig connection

  • Vidant Medical Center in Pitt County became the first not-for-profit hospital connected to the N.C. Telehealth Network via NCREN,


  • MCNC received federal approval to begin the second phase of the GLRBI in June 2011. Since that time, MCNC has mobilized efforts and made significant progress on this portion of the project, which is three-times the size of the first phase.


  • The total of new miles spanning both projects is currently 2,604.


  • The routes for Round 1 as engineered represent 904 newly-operational miles of which 414 miles are new construction.


  • All Round 1 fiber is now lit and placed into service.


  • The routes for Round 2 as engineered represent 1,700 total miles, of which 1,338 are new construction and 362 are being obtained and/or leased via indefeasible rights of use (IRU) or existing fiber is being upgraded.
    595 miles of new conduit has been built along the Round 2 project route, 292 miles of fiber has been deployed within that conduit, and nearly 307 miles of dark fiber have been obtained via IRUs.


  • The participating vendors and contractors who worked on Round 1 include: Fiber Technologies for construction/installation of fiber in western North Carolina; Globe Communications for construction/installation of fiber in the southeast; Comtech for all the fiber splicing related to this portion of the project; Cisco Systems for providing the Cisco ONS 15454 Optical Design Network Solution; CommScope for supplying all fiber-optic cable and materials; and ONUG Communications for engineering design, project planning, and related services.


  • All construction for the GLRBI is to be complete by 2013.


"This first phase of the project already is having a positive impact on student learning, patient outcomes in health care, economic outcomes in job creation and community development, and is accelerating innovation and research all across the state," said MCNC President and CEO Joe Freddoso. "Our goal is to continue creating infrastructure that meets the advanced needs of research, education, and health care while stabilizing costs to consumers and small businesses in areas where affordable broadband currently isn't available."http://www.mcnc.orghttp://www.goldenleaf.org

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