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Last Edited: 03/25/11
Public-Private Partnership Helps Connect Rural Schools in NC

In an effort to provide high speed Internet service to underserved areas of the state, MCNC, the nonprofit organization that provides the Internet service to the state’s schools and universities, is using both publics and private funds to expand its network. With a combination of money from the federal stimulus, the Golden Leaf Foundation, and MCNC, this public-private partnership will benefit our students, public schools and libraries across the state. 

The exponential growth in eLearning can be measured, in part, by the number of high school students in North Carolina taking distance learning courses, which has jumped from 5,200 to 22,400 in the past four years. Linking classrooms with college campuses across the state, the network provides access to courses, many of which utilize real time video requiring a high bandwidth network connection.  This huge surge in capacity requirement is in addition to the data intensive university computing demand from the research laboratories and administrative services.

When completed, MCNC’s North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) will encompass almost 3,000 miles throughout the state, connecting our universities, schools, libraries and even hospitals. This interconnectedness provides a vital economic infrastructure that allows the state to be competitive in attracting new businesses, in addition to being a leader in education.

Many of the state’s rural citizens will also benefit from this initiative, because MCNC will be required to make its rural network accessible to local Internet providers at reasonable prices, making broadband access more available and more affordable.

To learn more about this initiative, click here.