RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. and HICKORY, N.C., March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- CommScope, Inc., a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks, has been selected by MCNC to provide materials related to the second round expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) through the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI).
CommScope, based in Hickory, was selected in August 2010 to provide materials for the first round expansion of NCREN. The round one build encompasses construction of 407 miles of high-speed fiber optics in 37 counties in southeastern and western N.C. CommScope's first round contract was estimated at $2.5 million. This latest contract is estimated at $14 million and is slated to construct approximately 1,500 miles of new fiber through northeastern, north central, northwest, south central and central North Carolina.
"We are honored to be chosen again by MCNC to assist with this important project," said Ric Johnsen, Senior Vice President, Broadband Solutions, CommScope. "Our selection is a validation of CommScope's capabilities and willingness to support MCNC's efforts to bring an advanced network to the State of North Carolina."
MCNC released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for an appropriate vendor to provide outside plant materials on Dec. 3, 2010. While design and engineering of the GLRBI route is continuing, the estimated amounts of materials to be purchased include: 2,000 miles of fiber; 1,500 miles of conduit; 1,500 hand holds; 30,000 couplers; 1,500 cable plugs; 3,000 end caps; 425 splices enclosures; 2,500 marking posts; 1,500 grounding rods; and 25 external telecommunication huts.
"We have been pleased with CommScope's performance on the BTOP Round 1 implementation as well as their continued commitment to our project," said Tommy Jacobson, MCNC's Vice President for Network Infrastructure Initiatives and NCREN's Chief Architect. "Today, there are still major areas of the state, particularly rural areas, where citizens do not have access to basic broadband. This second contract with CommScope allows us to strengthen our partnership for delivering broadband to those parts of North Carolina who really need it."
The GLRBI is a $146 million expansion of NCREN that includes more than 2,000 miles of new fiber through 69 counties in North Carolina. Currently, about 85 miles of conduit for Round 1 are complete in southeastern and western N.C.
MCNC applied for and received two U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) awards last year totaling $104 million. In addition, MCNC raised $42 million in private matching funds as required by the federal program. The majority of these funds will be spent with private-sector engineering, construction, materials, and technology companies who will assist with the build.
The project will build a fiber optic, broadband delivery infrastructure that serves community anchor institutions (K-12 Schools, Community Colleges, Universities, Libraries, Public Health and Public Safety Facilities and Non-Profit and University Hospitals) statewide. Consumers and small businesses along the fiber build will be reached with enhanced broadband service through commercial telecommunications and cable providers with whom MCNC has formed partnerships. The network has the potential to serve more than 1,500 anchor institutions, 180,000 businesses, and more than 300,000 underserved families.
The project's Environmental Assessment currently is under review with construction ready to proceed. Currently, MCNC is evaluating proposals on construction bids and a vendor decision is expected within the next 30 to 45 days. Other current primary contractors/vendors supplying goods and services to the project include: ONUG Communications, Kimley-Horn Associates, CommScope, Cisco Systems, Globe Communications, Fiber Technologies, and Comtech.
In evaluating the bid responses to this contract and all others, MCNC is working with the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development (NCIMED) in Durham to reach N.C. companies who qualify as small, disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses. NCIMED has been advising MCNC on BTOP-related opportunities for several months and will continue to work with MCNC to make businesses throughout the state aware of BTOP-related opportunities.
CommScope, Inc. (www.commscope.com) provides essential infrastructure that makes communication possible. We empower people to connect and communicate seamlessly where, when, and how they choose. Our solutions and services for wired and wireless networks enable high-bandwidth data, video, and voice applications everywhere—at home, at work, and on the go. Through every wave of technology, CommScope helps the world connect and evolve. Backed by numerous respected brands such as Andrew®, SYSTIMAX® and Uniprise®, CommScope supports customers in more than 100 countries around the world through its focus on integrity, ethics, quality and technical innovation.
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 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 1,017 grants worth over $477 million since its inception. To learn more about applying for a grant, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call (888) 684.8404.
About MCNC's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Awards
MCNC currently is working on a $146 million expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network expected to be complete 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 $42 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 $6.55 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 a part of a coordinated strategy developed by the Office of the Governor, 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-BTOP Webspace & Social Networks
For more information regarding all of MCNC's BTOP activities, visit MCNC's BTOP Webspace online.