Tuesday, August 17, 2010

North Carolina's Golden LEAF Gains $140 Million in Funding

MCNC, which operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), was awarded $75.75 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Broadband Recovery Funds to support the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI). The award was made through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). This award builds on MCNC's Round 1 BTOP award, a $39.9 million project (including $28.2 million in BTOP Funds) granted in January 2010 to build 480 miles of fiber in 37 counties in southeastern and western North Carolina.

The Golden LEAF project will enhance the existing North Carolina Research and Education Network by adding approximately 1,300 miles of new middle-mile fiber throughout the state. In addition, about 400 miles of existing fiber will be provided to Golden LEAF through lease agreements and donations.

The Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors awarded $24 million in matching funds for the Round 2 grant. An additional $5.25 million in match was raised from the MCNC endowment, donations of land from individual community colleges and universities, and a donation of already-installed conduit in northeastern North Carolina from the Albemarle Pamlico Economic Development Corporation. UNC-Chapel Hill's Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute for Entrepreneurship and School of Government helped prepare the GLRBI application. MCNC raised $11.7 million in matching funds for its successful Round 1 application through private sources, including $4 million from the MCNC endowment.

  • Earlier this month, MCNC announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Construction and Splicing of the Fiber Optic Middle-Mile Project related to the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) Southeastern and Western N.C. Fiber Expansion Project. MCNC is seeking proposals from qualified contractors to construct a new fiber cable network to connect universities, community colleges, schools, libraries, and county offices to a statewide fiber optic network.

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