MCNC Names ECC Technologies Marketing Agent for BTOP Round 2 Fiber
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — MCNC, the private, not-for-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), announced today that it has selected ECC Technologies of Wake Forest, N.C., and Penfield, N.Y., to oversee commercial broadband opportunities included in the second phase of the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI) awarded through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).
“MCNC was looking for a fiber marketing partner who shared its goals of leveraging this GLRBI fiber to expand broadband service options for businesses and consumers in rural North Carolina. These are entities that MCNC will not serve directly but are opportunities for commercial service providers to serve,” said Joe Freddoso, President and CEO of MCNC. “ECC has a proven track record of working with local and regional business and policy leaders to leverage fiber assets to help expand service in underserved areas.”
MCNC raised $28.25 million in private matching funds and received $75.75 million in BTOP funds to build and acquire 1,700 miles of fiber as part of the second phase of the GLRBI. The Golden LEAF Foundation granted $24 million of the matching funds for this phase of the expansion. Construction on the new build portion of the second phase of network expansion began in July and will conclude in spring 2013.
MCNC will use the new fiber to expand the capacity of NCREN, which serves as the backbone Intranet and Internet network for a significant number of Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) in North Carolina. Those CAIs include all K-12 public schools, community colleges, University of North Carolina System institutions and select private colleges and universities, non-profit hospitals, public health, and public safety institutions in North Carolina.
In addition to serving rural and underserved CAIs through NCREN’s historic expansion, commercial businesses and consumers also can be served on all segments of the new GLRBI infrastructure. This includes segments in Northeast North Carolina (including the Outer Banks), North Central, Graham County, Charlotte to Wilmington, Charlotte to Kannapolis, and Hamlet to Raleigh. ECC will be responsible for working with public sector entities, private business enterprises, wholesale service providers, and last-mile service providers who are seeking to expand service offerings to reach these underserved consumers and businesses with affordable broadband service using the GLRBI fiber. ECC has a 16-year history of creating collaborative agreements that expand broadband services in rural areas.
ECC will begin its efforts on behalf of MCNC with extensive outreach to groups of leaders in areas of the GLRBI build. Groups of advocates, such as Northeast Rural Broadband Partnership, have already begun to formulate their strategies for leveraging the GLRBI fiber to expand broadband options for businesses and consumers in their respective regions. ECC will work with existing and emerging groups like the Northeast Rural Broadband Partnership to assist them in understanding the role the GLRBI fiber can play in their broadband expansion plans.
“Many rural regions in North Carolina have been left behind in the race to build out critical broadband infrastructure. The GLRBI is the first step for these regions and their leaders to leverage an infrastructure that is now critical for prosperity, education, healthcare, and global competitiveness,” said Joe Starks, CEO and founder of ECC Technologies. “We are looking forward to working with leaders throughout North Carolina and helping discover how the GLRBI can be part of their plans to create a prosperous future.”
Noel Preston, chairman of the Northeast Rural Broadband, said that for years leaders in Northeast North Carolina have realized the critical nature of reaching underserved businesses and consumers with more affordable broadband service.
“We know that realizing that vision is only possible if the public sector and private sector work together,” said Preston. “The GLRBI has provided a catalytic step to energizing this vision. By working with ECC Technologies and MCNC, we hope to form the partnerships to help realize this vision.”
MCNC is an independent, non-profit organization that employs advanced Internet networking technologies and systems to continuously improve learning and collaboration throughout North Carolina’s K-20 education community. MCNC provides advanced communications technologies and support services that enable access to 21st century learning applications and offers the opportunity to improve teaching, learning, research and collaboration among North Carolina’s education community. For a more than a quarter century MCNC has operated a robust, secure, exclusive communications network that has connected the institutions of the University of North Carolina System, Duke University and Wake Forest University to each other and through advanced research networks such as Internet2 and National Lambda Rail, to the world. Visit www.mcnc.org.
About NCREN Community
NCREN, operated by the non-profit organization MCNC, is one of the nation’s first statewide education and research networks. It provides broadband communications technology services and support to K-12 school districts, higher education campuses and academic research institutions across North Carolina. MCNC offers the NCREN network, technology tools and services to guarantee equal access to 21st century learning by providing a future-proof technology network that is the foundation for change and innovation in our educational systems. In addition to all public school districts in North Carolina, the NCREN user-community now includes: 17 institutions of the UNC System and General Administration; 24 of the 36 North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities; 58 North Carolina Community Colleges; research institutions and foundations; and, along with the N.C. Office of Information Technology Services and other partners, MCNC will provide broadband services for the Public Health and Non-Profit Hospitals Phases of the N.C. Telehealth Network in 2011 and beyond.
About ECC Technologies
ECC Technologies is a full service technology and communications consulting group. Over the past decade, ECC has been involved in over $1 Billion worth of project development worldwide. They are a leader in community-wide telecommunications planning and analysis and also specialize in project planning, design, engineering, implementation, and support services for educational, corporate, and community environments.
About The Golden LEAF Foundation
The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,110 grants worth over $511 million since its inception. To learn more about applying for a grant, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call (888) 684.8404.
MCNC/BTOP Central Webspace
For more information regarding all of MCNC’s BTOP activities, visit MCNC’s BTOP Central Web Space online.
About Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative
MCNC currently is working on a $144 million expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) scheduled to be completed by 2013. This initiative has been labeled the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative.
To fund this expansion, MCNC applied for and received two U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) awards totaling $104 million. In addition, MCNC raised $40 million in private matching funds as required by the BTOP program. MCNC’s sources of matching funds included $24 million from the Golden LEAF Foundation, $8 million from the MCNC Endowment, $4 million from private-sector wholesale telecommunications company FRC, and an estimated $4 million through donations of land and existing conduit from individual community colleges, universities, and others including the Albemarle Pamlico Economic Development Corporation. No direct funding from the State of North Carolina was required. MCNC estimates the expansion of NCREN will create or save 2,500 engineering, construction, and manufacturing jobs in the state.
Both MCNC awards are -part of a coordinated strategy developed by the Office of North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, the N.C. Office of Economic Recovery & Investment, and e-NC Authority to improve broadband access for businesses and residents in underserved areas. Once all work is complete, the two rounds of BTOP infrastructure have the potential to serve directly, or through MCNC partnerships with private-sector service providers, more than 1,500 community anchor institutions, 180,000 businesses, and reach more than 300,000 underserved families.
MCNC Communications Hotline: (919) 248.4105
Noah Garrett, NGC Communications, on behalf of MCNC: (252) 423.1277 or email@example.com