MCNC, the non-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), today unveiled strategic priorities to help make North Carolina the most connected state in the nation over the next four years by further reinforcing that reliable, fast, affordable and ubiquitous Internet access is a basic requirement of being a productive citizen in the 21st century.
Technology and broadband connectivity play a massive role in the everyday lives of North Carolina citizens. Guided by innovation, economic development, security, relationships with state government and thought leadership, MCNC is transforming into an organization that provides not just high-speed, broadband networking on NCREN but other value-added services and technology solutions for many key education and business verticals across the state.
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MCNC will be expanding upon existing services for K-20 education in North Carolina in addition to local community anchor institutions, non-profit healthcare, and state and local governments. MCNC also plans to support the state’s ability to provide the most robust next-generation public safety network in the nation as well as advance the educational transformation already underway in North Carolina via infrastructure and technology services. Another key priority for MCNC is to address and strengthen rural broadband connectivity and access throughout North Carolina.
“There are still significant areas of rural North Carolina where high-speed Internet is not available to local residents, and this is simply unacceptable in today’s world,” said MCNC President and CEO Jean Davis. “Hospitals, schools, businesses, and residents in these areas of the state deserve nothing less than the ability to connect and compete in today’s global marketplace. MCNC has outlined connectivity priorities for the state to support these growth markets so consumers can see more competition, lower costs, and better overall services.”
MCNC’s vision through 2020 and beyond is to leverage NCREN to expand stakeholder engagement in MCNC’s constituent community while creating unprecedented opportunities for North Carolinians where they live, access education, seek economic gain, participate in their governance, and access health care.
“MCNC has built the nation’s most future-proof network for the entire state of North Carolina, but success in deployment does not mean just installing fiber networks in rural areas,” said Tom Rabon, chairman of MCNC Board of Directors. “These communities need an active partner like MCNC to convene both public and private entities to assist those communities seeking to accelerate their broadband-based economies.”
MCNC currently provides connectivity, transport, data center services, video services, client network engineering, identity management, and other high-quality, reliable services to meet the evolving needs of customers. MCNC’s new strategic plan is customer-focused and has been designed collaboratively through a series of interactions with constituents.
MCNC, a technology nonprofit that builds, owns and operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), has served research, education, non-profit health care and other community institutions with Internet connectivity in the state for more than 30 years. NCREN is the fundamental broadband infrastructure for more than 500 of these institutions including all K-20 education in North Carolina. As one of the nation’s premier middle-mile networks, MCNC leverages high-speed fiber on NCREN to customize Internet services and related applications for each customer while supporting private service providers in bringing cost-efficient connectivity to rural and underserved communities in North Carolina. Visit www.mcnc.org or connect on Facebook, @MCNC, YouTube, Google+, or LinkedIn.
Internet2 and The Quilt InCommon K-14 Identity Federation Pilot Program, led across the country by 10 organizations, revealed insights for scaling identity services to K-12 communities. The pilot programs were conducted by state research and education networks and state-base agencies for the purposes of learning about and enabling K-12 access to federated services.
The participants found that K-12 organizations and community colleges can benefit from simplified access to shared online services, but often lack the resources to implement the federated identity solutions that have proven successful in higher education. The pilots also revealed that collaborations and coordination across states and regions can enhance efforts to enable more efficient access to shared online services in the K-14 arena.
The research was detailed in a recent whitepaper.
Participating in an identity federation such as Internet2’s InCommon Federation has significant benefits for educational institutions, providing a common framework for trusted shared management of access to online resources. Reducing staff and service integration costs, increasing security, and enabling students ease of access are just a few of the long-term benefits that the pilot participants saw as helping to serve K-12.
To conduct the pilots, Internet2 provided education, technology guidance, and connections to industry partners and collaborated with regional networks to engage their members on federation and provide guidance for the specific pilots.
“Each of the pilots developed and shared their plans for proving a targeted approach to K-14 federation and were successful in achieving their initial goals and objectives. Several of the pilots worked with industry partners in forming their plans and providing identity services to their constituents,” said George Laskaris, President and CEO of the New Jersey’s Research and Education Network (NJEDGE.Net), Quilt Board of Directors member, Internet2/Quilt InCommon pilots leader, 2013-2015. “We were pleased with the results of the collaborative efforts and are eager to see the work move forward.”
“Scaling the InCommon Federation to serve K-14 is a significant challenge. The regionals in the pilot have been instrumental in working with us to identify tools and business approaches to do this and collaborate on subsequent activities to address it. We thank the organizations who took part in this work, it is truly exciting to bring the benefits of InCommon to more students and educators across the country,” said Kevin M. Morooney, Internet2, vice president, trust & identity programs.
The pilots, which began in February, 2013, were conducted by:
- Illinois: NCSA and IlliniCloud
- North Carolina: MCNC
- Maryland: MDREN
- Michigan: Merit
- Nebraska: ESUCC
- Ohio: OARnet
- Utah: UETN
- Wisconsin – WiscNet
Access additional information about each pilot program and its results.
Attend an upcoming webinar detailing pilot program results.Read More...
The Quilt, a national coalition of advanced regional networks for research and education across the country, today released a request for proposals (RFP) for the 2016 Commodity Internet Services (CIS) program. This will mark The Quilt’s 8th RFP effort for the CIS.
One of the goals of The Quilt is to provide advanced network services at a lower cost. Toward this goal, the coalition of Quilt members and Authorized Quilt Buyers purchase Commodity Internet Services (CIS) through several approved CIS providers who participate in the program.
The Quilt leverages the collective purchasing power of its participants to purchase advanced network services at a lower cost. The Quilt then works to screen and qualify CIS vendors who meet the community’s requirements through a Quilt RFP process and then negotiate favorable pricing with Quilt-approved CIS vendors.
The Quilt Community collectively purchases 447 Gbps of committed commodity bandwidth from Quilt-approved providers established through the CIS.
Through the RFP process, our goal is to identify those providers who, through their IP transit Internet service offerings, are willing and able to be partners in the delivery and development of our research and education networks through the United States. We will look to our approved commodity Internet services providers for pricing discounts appropriate to our levels of bandwidth consumption. We seek provider partners who are able to provide the best value, be at the forefront of technology, and are willing to work closely with Quilt members to develop and expand technology beyond that of a standard provider-customer relationship.
To learn more, visit The Quilt’s 2016 Community Internet Services RFP Process Overview and Schedule. For any additional questions, please contact Jen Leasure at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More...