June 10, 2004 Ann Arbor, MI -- FiberCo, a fiber holding company supporting U.S. research and higher education, today announced that the University of Wyoming has been assigned a pair of dark fiber on the Level 3 Communications Inc. national fiber footprint between Laramie, WY, and Denver, CO. The dark fiber acquisition will enable new forms of optical networking and research capabilities that were previously unimaginable due to Laramie's remoteness from major telecommunications centers, say FiberCo representatives.
Established last year by Internet2, a consortium of 206 universities working with government and industry to develop and deploy advanced networking technologies, FiberCo provides a means for acquiring, holding, and assigning dark fiber assets on both the national and the regional scales and on behalf of the higher education community.
The University of Wyoming opted to work with FiberCo since its aggregate dark-fiber acquisition capability enables new networks to support cutting-edge science, such as the computationally intensive biomedical investigations enabled by the Lariat project, the first phase of a larger effort called IDeANet, which was recently funded by the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health. The Lariat Network, once complete, will enhance the network connectivity of institutions in six rural states (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming), improving access to biomedical research resources, national and international collaborators and allowing fuller participation in Internet-enabled science and education efforts. The dark fiber also provides a cost-effective means to provision significantly higher bandwidth connectivity to the Front Range GigaPop in Denver for the University's connectivity to national networking efforts such as the Abilene Network and National LambdaRail (NLR).
"We are excited to have signed this agreement with FiberCo because it not only helps to pave the way for the next wave of regional optical networking to reach our campus at an early stage, but it also will provide our faculty new networking capabilities with which to conduct research," contends Robert Aylward, vice president and chief information officer, Information Technology, University of Wyoming.
"The increase in bandwidth provided by the purchase of the FiberCo dark fiber will enable researchers and educators at the University of Wyoming to take the first steps towards participating in many new research and education efforts," adds Professor Gwen Jacobs, chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Montana State University and principal investigator of the Lariat project. "This is the first piece of the Lariat Network to be put in place, and I am delighted to see such rapid progress on this project."
Under an agreement with Level 3 Communications, FiberCo has the ability to provision both from an initial allocation of more than 2,600 route miles and from future acquisitions of dark fiber on Level 3's national footprint. According to FiberCo, its nationally aggregated approach enabled streamlined agreements and lower costs for acquiring the fiber as well as for the ongoing costs of fiber maintenance and equipment collocation.
"We are very pleased to have worked with our colleagues at the University of Wyoming on this assignment," says Steve CorbatÃ³, director of network infrastructure for Internet2. "We consider the placement of this fiber between Denver and Laramie to provide further validation of the FiberCo approach--especially in facilitating the extension of optical networks outside their traditional domain within major metropolitan areas."