golden leaf rural broadband initiative booklet

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View the on-line overview of MCNC and the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program Booklet.


  • Making Connections in North CarolinaBroadband Technology Opportunities Program


    MCNC and The North Carolina Research and Education Network

    Broadband Technology Opportunities ProgramTwo Rounds. One Goal.

    Connecting North Carolinas Future Today

    MCNCP.O. Box 128893021 Cornwallis RoadResearch Triangle Park, N.C.919.248.1900919.248.1101

  • The extension of NCREN will provide scalability of the network to meet the research and education needs of public education through 2025. In addition, acquiring and building out an open interconnect, middle-mile ber network will serve as a wholesale-priced conduit for private broadband service providers to reach and serve consumers and small businesses in underserved areas of rural North Carolina.

    Excerpt from a letter of support of MCNCs application for broadband recovery funds signed by all 15 members of North Carolinas delegation to the United States Congress (13 House /2 Senate).

    We are embarking on a public-private partnership that will literally change the way North Carolina communicates with the rest of the world. From the mountains to the coast, broadband access is a dierence-maker for rural North Carolina. This is a great example of how our state is leading Americas recovery.

    North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue

    Our reliance on NCREN has continued to grow as economic conditions have restricted travel and challenged our ability to oer a desired breadth and depth of courses to nearly 220,000 students. An owned NCREN will enable our institutions to accelerate the pace of innovation and research, educate greater numbers of students, and address the health care, education, and economic needs of North Carolinas citizens in greater numbers. NCREN truly is a digital pathway through which our public university can reach all citizens of the state.

    Former UNC President Erskine Bowles / now Co-Chairman of the Presidential Decit Commission

    What Are People Saying?


  • North Carolina has long supported aordable broadband networks to ensure a high quality of life and a globally competitive future for its citizens, businesses, and communities. Securing this funding will enable us to expand our eorts to train workers and ensure they have the skills necessary to compete in todays job market.

    Mike Murphy, Chairman of the MCNC Board of Directors

    These areas of the state are struggling to transition their economies. The Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors views this initiative as an opportunity to provide essential infrastructure, take advantage of federal matching dollars, and invest directly in eorts to grow stronger communities. Access to ber in these areas will help level the playing eld by providing global connectivity for business and educational opportunities. Rural North Carolina cannot be left behind.

    Dan Gerlach, President of The Golden LEAF Foundation

    Rutherford County has focused on the economic, educational, public safety, and other societal benets of broadband almost since the start of the Internet era. We believe the network that will result from the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative is a signicant step in making aordable broadband service available to our citizens and businesses. We have already begun to mention the network in economic development discussions. While not the total solution, we believe the GLRBI is a step in helping the county form the private/public partnerships necessary to reach every citizen and business in the county with aordable broadband service.

    John Condrey, Rutherford County Manager (retired)

    What Are People Saying?


  • Created by the governor and the N.C. General Assembly in 1980, MCNC is an independent, non-prot organization that employs advanced networking technologies and systems to continuously improve learning and collaboration throughout North Carolinas K-20 education community and allows for the implementation of telehealth and healthcare information exchange technologies in public health and non-prot hospitals. MCNC accomplishes this mission by operating the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN).

    NCREN is a robust, secure, exclusive communications network that connects the institutions of the University of North Carolina System, most North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, all North Carolina Community Colleges, all North Carolina K-12 Schools, select public health facilities, and most non-prot and university hospitals to each other and through advanced research networks such as Internet2 and National Lambda Rail, to the world.

    In 2010, MCNC applied for and received two federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) awards. These awards totaled $104 million, and when combined with $40 million privately-raised matching funds, represent a $144 million investment in broadband infrastructure in rural North Carolina. This report summarizes MCNCs operation, the plans for the BTOP awards and the impact the awards will have on North Carolina and its citizens.

    Who is MCNC and What is NCREN?


  • MCNC provides statewide and national network leadership.

    MCNC enhances North Carolinas competitive position.

    MCNC, through NCREN, provides in-state communications and Internet access to all K-20 education institutions and a signicant portion of public health/non-prot hospitals.

    MCNC enables education and healthcare to leverage network technologies to make operations more ecient.

    MCNC levels access to educational content no matter where a student goes to school.

    What We Do


  • North Carolina Research and Education Network Community


  • Bandwidth needs in education continue to rise. Over the years, MCNC has been meeting rural institution bandwidth needs through contracts with private-sector service providers. MCNCs spending with private telephone and cable companies represents 63 percent of the service fees paid to MCNC by K-20 education to operate NCREN.

    MCNC Spend with Service Providers


    MillionsIncludes local circuit spending for K-12 School Districts

    20092008 2010 2011 2012 (projected)




  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 appropriated $7.2 billion to broadband investments. The ARRA directed the U.S. Department of Agricultures Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the U.S. Department of Commerces National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities across the U.S., increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benets. As a result of this appropriation, RUS further funded the existing Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) and the NTIA created the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). BIP made loans and grants for last-mile broadband infrastructure projects in rural areas that directly serve consumers, small businesses and provide last-mile service to CAIs. BTOP provided grants to fund comprehensive community infrastructure, public computer centers, and sustainable broadband adoption projects. The BTOPs Comprehensive Community Infrastructure grants served mainly the middle-mile portion of the network. The middle mile directly serves large CAIs like universities, hospitals, and school districts and also wholesale access for the last mile.

    As of September 2010, BTOP ($4.7 billion) and BIP ($2.5 billion) had obligated all their funding. While MCNCs main focus is education, the $104 million in BTOP Grants and $40 million in private investment will allow MCNC to build an NCREN that through private/public partnerships can serve healthcare, public safety, and other public sector customers. The network also can be utilized by private-sector service providers to supply broadband service to underserved consumers and underserved small businesses. This signicantly-expanded network will help North Carolina realize its vision of high-speed broadband for all citizens.

    What is ARRA/BIP/BTOP and Broadband Recovery?


  • North Carolina CitizensAs the importance of broadband access became more of an economic development and connectivity issue, the Rural Prosperity Task Force was formed in 1999. After its initial report to the N.C. General Assembly, legislators then created the Rural Internet Access Authority (which was renamed e-NC Authority in 2000). The e-NC Authority continues to work with citizens across the state and with private-sector telecommunications and telephone cooperatives to change the access to citizens of broadband from 32 percent to about 80 percent. Today, there are still major areas of the state, particularly rural areas, where citizens do not have access to basic broadband.

    North Carolina Community Anchor Institutions Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) are dened as public institutions that provide a service to the public or are facilities where the public gather to be educated, gain information, or receive care. NCREN currently serves the broadband needs of many education and healthcare CAIs in the state. The need for broadband at these institutions grows signicantly every year (between 20 and 40 percent). In addition, the applications these institutions operate require a level and type of network connectivity that is not commercially available to optimally perform. Finally, many CAIs in rural and underserved areas of North Carolina, such as libraries, lack the amount of bandwidth they require to serve their constituents.

    The Broadband Needs of North Carolina


  • Approximately $144 million of spending with the private sector to build the network.