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N.C. Research & Education Network Extends Reach from Atlanta to Washington, D.C.

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  • From: "Lauren B. Kallens" <>
  • To: <>
  • Subject: N.C. Research & Education Network Extends Reach from Atlanta to Washington, D.C.
  • Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 10:19:34 -0400

N.C. Research & Education Network Extends Reach from Atlanta to Washington,

North Carolina Universities Leverage Advanced Networking Facilities Through
FiberCo to Enhance Worldwide Research Collaboration

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (June 28, 2005) - The North Carolina Research &
Education Network (NCREN), a statewide network serving North Carolina
universities, colleges and state government, has been extended to enhance
research and collaboration opportunities with the addition of a 775
route-miles of fiber optic network connecting NCREN to Atlanta and
Washington, D.C.

The purchase, part of the long-term, collaborative networking strategy among
the University of North Carolina's 16 campuses, private universities, and
MCNC, was the second made through FiberCo (TM), a fiber holding company,
providing national-scale pricing to support U.S. research and higher
education through an agreement with Level 3 Communications, Inc.
(Nasdaq:LVLT). FiberCo has been instrumental in facilitating the
acquisition of thousands of route miles of fiber by the research and
education community. This effort has helped spur the build out of regional
optical networks like NCREN today as well as provide backbone facilities for
National LambdaRail (NLR).

"Many statewide and regional networks today have launched initiatives to
develop the type of advanced networking infrastructure that North Carolina's
state government and universities developed over the last 20 years," said
John Crites, president and CEO of MCNC. "Today, we have a statewide network
regarded as one of the finest in the nation. To keep our state and
universities on the leading edge of discovery, we are enhancing North
Carolina's reach to other national and international research networks and
the world's leading research institutions. This extended fiber backbone
provides extremely high bandwidth and the flexibility to serve North
Carolina's research needs well into the future."

North Carolina universities and other regional universities in the
Southeastern United States, including Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech,
advocated the expansion of NCREN to provide faster and more direct access to
a broader range of universities for research collaboration, national
research networks and exchange points to reach the rest of the world.

By providing a vehicle for research and educational institutions to acquire
not only long haul fiber but also collocation, maintenance services, and
metropolitan fiber, FiberCo is helping efforts such as NCREN to solve
advanced networking needs. With this latest network extension, NCREN will
have the ability to negotiate service agreements with a broader range of
commercial Internet providers in the major metropolitan areas. This is
anticipated to result in cost savings for North Carolina's universities and
other NCREN customers. All 16 public universities, most private universities
and colleges in North Carolina, and state government receive Internet and
advanced networking services through NCREN.

Advanced networking is fundamentally changing. Research and education across
a wide range of disciplines is experiencing technological advancements that
literally open new frontiers of discovery by enabling research that was once
impossible. Already today, many researchers and students are conducting
experiments using near real-time control of scientific instruments as well
as access to large files of data using advanced networks such as Internet2's
Abilene network. In the future, large-scale science experiments such as
climate modeling or physics simulations which have bandwidth needs that far
exceed typical production networks' capabilities will be achievable through
this latest network expansion.

The network infrastructure is no longer a commodity "plumbing" tool but an
integral part of enabling research applications and collaboration. Advanced
networks support national and international collaborations of "virtual"
research teams that rely on resources that may reside in many geographic
locations - including access and analysis of data, high-performance
computing resources, and remote access and control of costly scientific
instruments, such as telescopes in remote locations. The high-performance
resources are typically too expensive for a single institution to support.
Networks enable the sharing of resources and collaboration.

"Networks are the 21st century interstate highway system for the information
and knowledge-driven economy," said Daniel Reed, vice chancellor for
information technology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and
founding director of the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI). RENCI is a
collaboration of the UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University and N.C. State
University to explore the interactions of computing technology with the
sciences, arts and humanities. "This enhancement to North Carolina's network
infrastructure provides a testbed for innovation and enables us to support
the world's most demanding applications - from science to commerce to the
arts and humanities - accelerating the rate of discovery through national
and international collaborations," Reed said.

"Information drives university research and our state's prosperity," said
Robyn Render, vice president for information resources and chief information
officer for the University of North Carolina's 16 campuses. "The expanded
high-speed network connections to Atlanta and Washington, D.C. are essential
for North Carolina to maintain and enhance our leadership in scientific
innovation and to recruit and retain world-class researchers, faculty and

Mark Johnson, director of advanced networking for MCNC and NCREN, said the
fiber backbone is more than simply a single network. The needs of
high-performance research often conflict with the everyday production needs
of networks serving campuses.
"This added fiber backbone represents a foundation of resources,
capabilities and services to build dedicated, application-specific research
networks as well as production networks. The fiber provides the opportunity
for vastly more bandwidth than the existing NCREN production network. Owning
the fiber enables North Carolina universities and research partners to
design dedicated networks with project-specific equipment to meet the unique
needs of research applications," Johnson said.

Tracy Futhey, vice president for Information Technology and chief
information officer at Duke University, said that the extension of NCREN
increases the capacity and flexibility of the state's optical networking
capabilities. Futhey is also chairman of National LambdaRail (NLR), a major
initiative of U.S. research universities and private sector technology
companies to provide a national scale infrastructure for research and
experimentation in networking technologies and applications. "The extension
of NCREN complements access to NLR and other national research networks,
supplementing the current research network capabilities in the region and
creating further opportunities for collaboration throughout the Southeast,"
Futhey said.

"FiberCo's goal is to assist the research and education community in
acquiring critical optical networking assets to facilitate the development
of advanced regional fiber infrastructure. The NCREN network extension
demonstrates one more example of how universities are leveraging these
facilities to further advance networking technologies that will take several
years to become commercialized products" said Steve Cotter, director of
network services for Internet2 and responsible for Internet2's FiberCo
effort. "This collaborative effort by North Carolina universities showcases
the national leadership that NCREN has demonstrated for more than 20 years
in providing advanced network technology for research and education, and the
collaboration throughout the Southeastern United States enabled by NCREN is
a model for other regions around the country."

"We're pleased to announce our most recent agreement with FiberCo that will
enable NCREN to extend the geographic reach of its highly advanced research
network," said Jerry Hogge, Level 3's senior vice president and general
manager, Federal and Research and Education Markets. "By providing reliable,
high-quality broadband infrastructure and services, Level 3 is helping NCREN
implement, operate and maintain one of the most advanced research networks
in the country."

Since 1985, MCNC has developed and operated the North Carolina Research and
Education Network (NCREN) in collaboration with the University of North
Carolina's 16 campuses. The fiber-optic, private network is dedicated to
research and education, providing a statewide network backbone to foster
innovation. NCREN provides high-speed Internet, video, audio and data
network services for North Carolina public universities, Duke University,
Wake Forest University, other private universities and community colleges,
state government and non-profit institutions. NCREN also provides access to
national research networks. MCNC, founded in 1980 to be a catalyst for
technology-based economic development throughout North Carolina, is located
in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park. For more information, please

About FiberCo
FiberCoT provides a means for acquiring, holding, and assigning fiber optic
network assets in support of the Internet2 community's goals of developing
and deploying advanced network applications and technologies. FiberCo
facilitates the ongoing development of regional optical networking
initiatives around the country to complement existing Internet2 network
infrastructure while providing a strategic fiber acquisition capability on
the national scale. For more information, visit:

About Level 3 Communications
Level 3 (Nasdaq:LVLT) is an international communications and information
services company. The company operates one of the largest Internet backbones
in the world, is one of the largest providers of wholesale dial-up service
to ISPs in North America and is the primary provider of Internet
connectivity for millions of broadband subscribers, through its cable and
DSL partners. The company offers a wide range of communications services
over its 23,000-mile broadband fiber optic network including Internet
Protocol (IP) services, broadband transport and infrastructure services,
collocation services, and patented Softswitch managed modem and voice
services. Its Web address is

Scott Yates

  • N.C. Research & Education Network Extends Reach from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., Lauren B. Kallens, 06/28/2005

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