Internet2, Level 3 to provide network capacity to research and educational institutions

Internet2 and Level 3 Communications Inc. announced a new, multi-year agreement to build a national network with 8.8 terabits of capacity designed to support more than 200,000 community anchor institutions nationwide, including K-12 schools, libraries, community colleges, health centers, hospitals, and public safety organizations.

Internet2 and Level 3 Communications Inc. announced a new, multi-year agreement to build a national network with 8.8 terabits of capacity designed to support more than 200,000 community anchor institutions nationwide, including K-12 schools, libraries, community colleges, health centers, hospitals, and public safety organizations.

The new network, partially funded by a federal stimulus grant, will enable a variety of bandwidth-intensive applications and data sharing. Network development and deployment is scheduled to begin immediately, with the first coast-to-coast segments expected to be in service by mid-summer.

Internet2, a networking consortium led by the U.S. research and education community, will acquire the right to use fiber strands on Level 3’s fiber-optic network and Level 3’s network management support to enable its new, national 8.8-terabit optical system and 100 Gigabit Ethernet network. Internet2 will use more than 10,000 miles of fiber on the Level 3 national footprint and gain the ability to obtain additional miles for the next three years as needed. Level 3 will install Internet2’s optical equipment and provide 24/7 monitoring and field support to these facilities. Colocation facilities and power for the network will also be provided by Level 3.

Through a federal stimulus grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), Internet2 is expanding the capacity and footprint of its network to meet the high-performance, high-capacity needs of research and higher education.

The Internet2 Network, working with regional and state networks and through the United States Unified Community Anchor Network (U.S. UCAN) project, will enable education, health care, libraries, and public safety institutions to access advanced application opportunities not possible with consumer-grade Internet services, says a representative.

“Today’s announcement with Level 3 represents another major milestone in helping to fulfill the promise of Internet2’s BTOP grant by providing the critical underlying infrastructure needed to support community anchor institutions nationwide,” says Rob Vietzke, Internet2 executive director of Network Services. “[This agreement] allows our members to leverage existing network investments to realize dramatically enhanced capabilities today, as well as position all of the communities we serve with the ability to significantly grow and take advantage of new opportunities well into the future.”

Internet2 will partner closely with Level 3 on the daily operations of the network, while remaining the owner of the optical equipment with the right of use on the fiber infrastructure. The company will also direct provisioning and capacity planning.

"It takes a massive amount of bandwidth to educate the leaders of tomorrow, to keep the medical community connected to the latest findings, and to power cutting-edge research projects that can enhance everyday living. With Level 3’s fiber-optic network and expertise, Internet2 is ready to support the bandwidth-intensive scientific and medical research applications that are changing lives both today and in the future,” says Edward Morche, senior vice president of Level 3’s Federal Markets.

Level 3’s managed fiber system leverages the company’s network reach, including 54,000 route miles of intercity dark fiber assets connecting more than 190 markets and 27,000 route miles of metro dark fiber.

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