Networkmaine, MDOE Upgrading 301 PreK-12 Schools to Gigabit Speeds December 30, 2020

ORONO, MAINE – Networkmaine, a unit of the University of Maine System responsible for the design and operation of Maine’s research and education network (MaineREN) that delivers high-speed Internet and technology services to support education, research, public service, government and economic development throughout the state, announced today a partnership with the Maine Department of Education to upgrade network connections at preK-12 schools through the Maine School and Library Network (MSLN) project.

Internet connections at an estimated 301 preK-12 schools have or will receive upgrades as part of the project. Follow this link for a coverage map of schools receiving upgrades.

“COVID’s effects on our education systems in Maine and throughout the country are well-documented,”said Jeff Letourneau, executive director of Networkmaine. “Many schools in our state have been connected at 100 Mbps or lower as their previous use of the Internet didn’t demand any more than that amount.”

In Maine schools remote and hybrid learning models are driving the need for additional bandwidth especially at the elementary level. In order to implement safety requirements that have proven to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, many-school districts are using some form of hybrid learning where half of the student body is in the classroom and the other half participate remotely. [Read the full press release on UMS | News]

OARnet: Last Mile Enhancement Program brings tenfold increase in broadband speed to 40 Ohio colleges and universities December 21, 2020

Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) Chancellor Randy Gardner and OARnet have announced the $12.1 million Last Mile Enhancement Program to increase broadband speeds by 1,000% at 40 Ohio colleges and universities.

The award will also enable all 87 OARnet-connected colleges and universities to double their internet subscriptions for two years beginning Jan. 1, 2021. The added capacity will enable more bandwidth-intensive applications and better facilitate remote instruction.

Supported by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, the program enables OARnet to work with commercial “last mile” providers to upgrade connections to its ultra-fast 5,500-mile fiber optic backbone at each of the 40 institutions.

“COVID-19 accelerated a pre-existing trend in the expansion of remote and hybrid learning,” Chancellor Gardner said. “The Last Mile Enhancement Program enables Ohio’s faculty and instructors to continue delivering high quality academic experiences in this new environment.”

The 40 institutions include community, technical and four-year colleges and universities, both public and private, whose networks experienced unprecedented demand after the sudden shift to remote and hybrid learning models because of COVID-19. Their connections to OARnet will increase from one Gigabit per second (Gbps) or less to 10 Gbps, an improvement that could, for instance, shorten a transfer of one terabyte of data from 160 minutes to 16. It could also dramatically increase the number and quality of simultaneous student video connections to a remote classroom platform. [Read the full announcement at OARnet | Press Releases]

WINS: SC21 Call for Participation, Deadline 1/15/2021 December 09, 2020

The Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) program is now accepting applications for the 2021 program. Since 2015, the WINS program has provided an immersive “hands-on” mentorship opportunity for early- to mid-career women in the IT field who are selected to participate in the ground-up construction of SCinet, one of the fastest and most advanced computer networks in the world, built annually for the Supercomputing Conference (SC) to be held in St. Louis, MO in 2021.

The program collaborates with SCinet committee leadership to match each awardee with a SCinet team and a mentor; offers travel funding for awardees; and provides ongoing support and career development opportunities for the awardees before, during, and after the conference.

Interested and qualified women are encouraged to apply. WINS strives to have diverse representation of organizations and applicant backgrounds in the cohort each year. In order to further broaden the diversity within the WINS program itself, preference this year will be given to applicants who are historically underrepresented in the Information Technology field, including Black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latinx.

The application deadline is January 15, 2021 at 11:59pm AoE. To apply:

WINS is a joint effort between the Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER), and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and works collaboratively with the SC program committee.

Announcement courtesy of: 
Marla Meehl
Section Head: Network Engineering and Telecommunications Section (NETS)
Manager: Front Range GigaPoP (FRGP)
PI: Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS)
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)