Friday, July 02, 2010

US Unified Community Anchor Network (UCAN) gets $62.5m green light through BTOP

Great news from Internet2 in the USA:
"The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today awarded more than $62.5 million in federal stimulus funding through its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) to a group of national research and education networking organizations including Internet2...the group proposes the construction of the United States Unified Community Anchor Network (U.S. UCAN), an advanced 100 Gigabit per second network backbone that will link regional networks across the nation, including other projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The NTIA grant will be supplemented with an additional $34.3 million in contributions from the proposal partners and suppliers."
If my maths is correct, at current rates $62.5m is just under £9m short of the £50m which has just been removed from the UK Department for Education's Harnessing Technology grant for 2010-11. Here's what the UCAN will offer:
"U.S. UCAN’s coast-to-coast advanced infrastructure will, in partnership with regional and state research and education networks, connect America's community anchor institutions - schools, libraries, community colleges, health centers and public safety organizations - to enable advanced applications not possible with today’s typical Internet service. U.S. UCAN fills a critical gap, linking community anchor institutions together into an open, national network with next-generation capabilities, operated with end-to-end transparency and the high levels of performance uniquely suited to the needs of this community.
U.S. UCAN will ensure that life-changing applications such as telemedicine and distance learning are available to all community anchor institutions, including those in areas previously considered too remote or economically depressed to support advanced network services. Led by the same research and education networking community that has already connected 66,000 community anchors through partnerships across public and private sectors, U.S.UCAN will prepare Americans - now and in the future - to compete successfully in an increasingly competitive global economy.
The network will offer its services to community anchors nationwide through a new not-for-profit organization (also called U.S. UCAN), which will be directed and governed by a partnership of the research and education networking community and representatives of community anchor institutions. In essence, the network will be owned and directed by its stakeholders. As a first priority, U.S. UCAN will make sure that it meets the needs established by its governing body of community anchors.
U.S. UCAN provides a jumpstart in implementing the FCC National Broadband Plan released in March 2010 which recommends the development of a unified network dedicated to community anchor institutions that builds on the extensive investment the research and education community has already made in national network infrastructure and leverages the human expertise and collaborations that have already developed to greatly accelerate the delivery of broadband to all of the nation’s community anchor institutions."
See this previous post for some thoughts on similar possibilities in the UK. If funds permit of course.

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