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NECC BTOP Statement - ME, NH, VT

Northeast Cyberinfrastructure Consortium / BTOP Leveraging Joint ME, NH, VT Statement 18 September 2010

NECC / BTOP Leveraging
The Northeast Cyberinfrastructure Consortium (NECC) is a consortium of five states that are collaborating on building regional cyberinfrastructure. The NECC states, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, received a collaborative award from NSF EPSCoR (RII-Track 2) for specific fiber, research, and workforce development and diversity programs. The NECC states also have a coordinated set of supplements to INBRE and COBRE grants from NIH NCRR to further build cyberinfrastructure in the region. These supplement cover fiber, research, electronics, and training in cyber-tools and education outreach in the region. NSF EPSCoR Track 1 RII grants to these states also include cyberinfrastructure improvements that are coordinated with the above.

Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP) awards have been made to Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. This statement describes the relationship between NECC and BTOP awards for each of the states.

In Maine, the overall focus for the NECC project is extending the existing fiber optic network to add redundancy and reach additional research and education facilities. The NSF EPSCoR Track 2 RII award funds the leasing of fiber up the coast of Maine between Brunswick and Ellsworth to complete a geographically diverse fiber optic ring, and between Orono and Presque Isle to extend Maine’s research and education network (MaineREN) into northern Maine to the Canadian border. The National Institutes of Health NCRR INBRE award funds the leasing of dense wave division multiplexing equipment to light these new fiber routes with multiple 10Gbps wavelengths.

Maine has two separate BTOP awards that are providing middle mile fiber throughout the rural most parts of the state (Three Ring Binder Project) and the creation of 108 Public Computer Centers in public libraries around the state (Maine Public Library Information Commons Project).

The investments in cyberinfrastructure from NSF EPSCoR and NIH, along with the two BTOP awards and an additional $2.75M of funds committed by the University of Maine System (UMS), have allowed Maine to engage in a coordinated and leveraged effort for the state. This includes the expansion of MaineREN beyond the original NECC core network paths by leasing fiber installed as part of the BTOP Three Ring Binder Project to connect 5 additional University of Maine System campuses and outreach centers and 10 additional high schools.

In addition, the BTOP awards are allowing UMS and the University System of New Hampshire to establish a redundant northern interconnection between Maine’s MaineREN and New Hampshire’s IBEAM research and education networks to provide for more network resiliency throughout the New England Region.

Lastly, the Maine Public Library Information Commons BTOP Project will benefit from all these investments as all 108 public libraries are members of the Maine School and Library Network which uses MaineREN as its backbone.

New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, the overall focus for the NECC project is to establish a fiber optic network to replace inadequate network connectivity and reach major research and education facilities with next generation connectivity. The NSF EPSCoR RII Track 2 award funds the Indefeasible Right to Use (IRU) lease of the “Big Green Panther” fiber segment running from 1 Sundial in Manchester, to Plymouth State University in Plymouth, to Dartmouth College in Hanover. The National Institutes of Health NCRR COBRE supplement award funds the IRU lease of a new fiber segment running between 1 Sundial in Manchester, and Keene State College in Keene, a key biological partner institution (BPI) with Dartmouth.

Awarded on July 1, 2010, the NTIA BTOP award to Network New Hampshire Now (#4248) allows the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) and state-level partners to assemble and construct a 450 mile fiber optic network pathway through all 10 counties in New Hampshire. The ability to expand aggregate middle mile access for research, education and commerce, which is possible through the Network New Hampshire Now middle mile network, allows for next generation science to take place with New Hampshire as a major participant.

New Hampshire’s EPSCoR RII Track 2 funding of IRU leases along the Big Green Panther segment becomes the core network in New Hampshire that BTOP will expand from and reach several underserved and unserved areas, as well as be in a position to partner with the University of Maine System and the University of Vermont to establish a redundant northern interconnection between New Hampshire’s IBEAM research and education network, Maine’s MaineREN and Vermont’s network links to provide for more network resiliency throughout the New England region.

Since the fiber optic networks in New Hampshire have yet to be constructed, the EPSCoR RII Track 2 funding that will acquire IRU leases is predicated on the construction of the fiber optic links to be leased. The construction of 288 strands of fiber optic cable is being performed by TelJet Longhaul, and at the conclusion of the construction project, will result in 12 fiber strands IRU leased to USNH with the remainder available for economic development. TelJet Longhaul has provided a letter of intent to exchange some of the remaining available fiber strands in the same sheath as the USNH leased fibers for the BTOP expansion, ensuring that the pathway where USNH and Dartmouth travel will also be available for other entities.

Adding to the EPSCoR RII Track 2 IRU lease will be other IRU leases across New Hampshire to all locations of the University System of New Hampshire (Keene State College, Plymouth State University, Granite State College and the University of New Hampshire) and the Community College System of New Hampshire, which presently has USNH as its Internet Service Provider. Thus, the distinctly-funded pieces of the New Hampshire IBEAM network from the NSF EPSCoR RII Track 2, the NIH NCRR COBRE Supplement and the NTIA BTOP Network New Hampshire Now program all contribute to assembling a next generation cyberinfrastructure that will offer New Hampshire the opportunity to fully participate in the development of next generation scientific inquiry.

In Vermont, the NECC is establishing a redundant optical fiber network that connects us to our partner institutions in other states. One leg of the loop, funded by a National Science Foundation Track-2 award, will connect Burlington to the New Hampshire border and on to the national research and education Internet 2 hub in Boston. The second leg, funded by a National Institutes of Health NCRR INBRE award, will connect Burlington to Albany to provide a second, redundant connection for R&E network support. Both legs are long-term leases for connectivity at multi- gigabit speeds.

In Vermont, BTOP awards are providing local connectivity within the state for intrastate, commodity-level, high- bandwidth (up to 1Gb/s) connections to various public institutions such as K-12, community colleges, and local libraries. Because small states with rugged terrain often have difficulty attracting broadband Internet providers, the Vermont Fiber Link, a public-private partnership between the Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA) and Sovernet Fiber Corporation, a regional communications service provider, will focus on key community institutions that lack affordable high speed Internet access. The Vermont BTOP will build almost 800 miles of fiber broadband infrastructure and provide direct connections to as many as 340 institutions statewide, including nine community colleges, 12 other institutions of higher learning, 30 public safety entities, and 53 libraries.

The investments in cyberinfrastructure from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health are focused on very-high-bandwidth (10Gb/s) connectivity across the New England Region, specifically connecting research institutions. BTOP will be in a position to expand from the core network paths that IDeA and EPSCoR have already funded to provide local research and education Internet service access within Vermont.