The Quilt and Internet2 submit comments to NTIA on Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act February 16, 2022

A key step in beginning to shape the broadband programs that will result from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is creating the rules that the federal government will use to provide guidance to state grant programs, as well as rules to administer the smaller federal competitive grant programs.

On Jan. 10, 2022, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a request for comments on the agency’s implementation of certain broadband provisions in the IIJA. In response, The Quilt and Internet2 submitted comments last week on behalf of the U.S. research and education networking community. NTIA announced on Feb. 14 that a total of 557 written comments were received.

The key topic areas addressed in the filing include:

  • Bringing reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband to all Americans
  • Supporting states, territories, and sub-grantees to achieve the goal
  • Ensuring all eligible entities, including R&E networks, are considered in state grant programs
  • Including educational stakeholders and interests in formulation of local broadband plans
  • Establishing clear rules to enable open access to federally funded network facilities
  • Establishing strong collaborative partnerships between state, local, and tribal governments
  • Considering Digital Equity for higher education and unique needs of all educational institutions and community anchor institutions
  • Setting appropriate standards for applicants to the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure (MMBI) grant program

Read NTIA’s request for comments.

Download a copy of The Quilt and Internet2’s filing to learn more.

Quello Center and Community Partners Recognized with 2022 MSU Distinguished Partnership Award February 02, 2022

Johannes M. Bauer, Keith Hampton, and community partners will be recognized by Michigan State University on February 24 with the 2022 Distinguished Partnership Award for Community-Engaged Service for their efforts to increase understanding of the cost of digital inequalities to rural students, and to help overcome discrepancies in access to high-speed internet connectivity.

Merit Network, Inc. (Joe Sawasky, Charlotte Bewersdorff), Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District (Jason F. Kronemeyer), Mecosta Osceola Intermediate School District (Fred Sharpsteen), St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (Kevin D. Miller, Brenda Tenniswood), Washtenaw County Broadband Task Force (Ben Fineman), and the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (K. John Egelhaaf) are the community partners in this project.

“This collaboration began in 2017 as an effort to help overcome discrepancies in access to high-speed Internet connectivity. By 2017, an estimated 27% of Michigan households with school-aged children, many of them located in rural parts of the state, did not have access to broadband connectivity. With our partners, this project put the knowledge and expertise of university faculty and students to work to address real world problems faced by local communities,” Hampton, professor in the Department of Media and Information, said.

The project led by Bauer and Hampton looked to understand the importance of broadband internet access to rural communities, measure the disparities between those rural and urban communities, and to provide a methodology for those communities to close that gap in access. Its success critically depended on collaboration with and support by several community partners. Merit Network, Inc., a regional education network, was instrumental throughout the entire collaboration, as were Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD, Mecosta Osceola ISD, and St. Clair County Regional Educational Service during the initial pilot project. [Read the full announcement on the Quello Center | Blog]

I-Light and Indiana GigaPOP now offering cybersecurity services to members October 22, 2021

With ransomware and other cyberattacks on the rise, Indiana’s colleges and universities need a way to quickly know about and mitigate cybersecurity incidents on their networks.

That’s why I-Light, Indiana’s high-speed research and education network, and the Indiana GigaPOP are partnering with OmniSOC to provide these services to its members—at no extra cost.

OmniSOC is a shared cybersecurity operations center for higher education and research and a trusted leader in the higher education cybersecurity community. Since forming in 2018, the center has made a name for itself delivering critical, actionable, high-quality alerts 24x7x365, at substantial savings.

“In our monthly town hall meetings with our members, we are hearing that cybersecurity—and its high cost—are huge concerns for them,” said Marianne Chitwood, executive director, I-Light and Indiana GigaPOP. “Partnering with OmniSOC allowed us to meet both these needs, truly benefiting our members.”

The I-Light network connects its 40+ member institutions seamlessly to each other as well as to the Indiana GigaPOP, which gives them access to national and international research and education networks and enables collaborative research with partners across the country and around the world. [Read the full article at I-Light | News]