BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Zayo Bandwidth, a regional provider of fiber-based bandwidth infrastructure solutions, announced today in partnership with I-Light that it has received $25.1M from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to connect 21 Ivy Tech Community College campuses to the I-Light network, Indiana’s high-performance, optical-fiber telecommunications network for research and education. The award will also allow Zayo to expand broadband connectivity across the state of Indiana to unserved and underserved areas.
Zayo Bandwidth will build 626 miles of new 96-strand fiber across the state to complete this project and provide new jobs. Two strands of fiber will be dedicated to connect 21 Ivy Tech campuses to I-Light, which connects to the nation’s most advanced educational and research networks Internet2 and National LambdaRail.
“Indiana was a pioneer in 1999 when the state invested $5.3M to create the nation’s first optical research and education network that was owned and operated by higher education,” noted IU President Michael A. McRobbie. “That original network connected the state’s major research universities with great success. In 2005, the state began expanding I-Light to connect all institutions of higher education to I-Light. This federal award greatly accelerates that vision by connecting the remaining Ivy Tech campuses.”
Ivy Tech President Thomas J. Snyder said, “This investment of stimulus money for broadband is especially timely for the growing needs of Ivy Tech. It gives vastly improved connectivity among all Ivy Tech campuses, and connects our students and faculty to the best educational resources that use high speed networks. This grant helps increase the overall efficiency for higher education in the state.”
Zayo will also make broadband services available to as many as 80 communities along the fiber path that presently meet federal guidelines as unserved or underserved, including more than 480,000 households, 49,000 businesses, and thousands of health, public safety, education, and government centers.
The project, totaling $31.8M overall and expected to be completed in three years, is also supported by Zayo matching funds and in-kind contributions and investments from Ivy Tech, Indiana University, Ball State University, and Purdue University.
“Zayo is committed to continually expanding our bandwidth network to unserved and underserved areas for our customers,” said Dan Caruso, Zayo Group President and CEO. “We are honored to be a part of this exceptional collaboration to support the success of Indiana educational institutions.”
“This major investment continues I-Light’s remarkable public-private partnership to serve education,” said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for IT & CIO. “This project for Ivy Tech will add 600 miles of fiber to I-Light’s existing 1,200 miles across the state.”
The I-Light connections for Ivy Tech will offer increased capacity for collaboration and innovation in education and research across institutional and geographic boundaries. Currently there are 41 Indiana higher education sites connected to the I-Light network.
“Cross-institutional collaboration for research and education allows for more rapid scientific breakthroughs and expanded educational opportunities, provides substantial cost savings, and leads to accomplishment beyond what any one organization is capable of achieving alone,” said McRobbie. “The connection of schools via I-Light is an essential tool for realizing this type of collective success within the state of Indiana.”
McRobbie noted that the operational parts of the I-Light network are already a catalyst for revamping the state’s economy to a greater role in research and education in the life and health sciences, enabling, for example, the state’s single School of Medicine to effectively deliver distributed education programs to its 8 Medical Education Centers across the state.
I-Light fiber connections made possible by the federal stimulus funding include Ivy Tech campuses in Anderson, Bloomington (2 locations), Columbus, Connersville, East Chicago, Elkhart, Evansville, Fairbanks, Fort Wayne, Gary, Kokomo, Lafayette, Lawrenceburg, Madison, Marion, Michigan City, Monticello, Muncie, Valparaiso, and Warsaw.
About Zayo Bandwidth
Zayo Bandwidth, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zayo Group, owns and operates fiber optic networks totaling over 20,000 fiber route miles. Zayo Bandwidth (www.zayo.com/bandwidth) offers services in 141 markets spanning 23 states. Zayo Bandwidth’s mission is to provide responsive bandwidth infrastructure solutions and a strong and growing network.
I-Light dramatically improves Indiana’s position as a national leader in very high-speed networking in support of teaching, learning, research, technology transfer, and inter-institutional collaboration and cooperation, activities that will help fuel the state’s economy. Network management for I-Light is provided by the Global Research Network Operations Center (GRNOC) at Indiana University, a premier provider of highly responsive network coordination, engineering, monitoring and installation services that support the advancement of Research and Education networking. The GRNOC supports the Internet2 and National Lambda Rail research networks as well as many regional optical networks and international connections. Also supporting I-Light is the I-Light network support team, part of University Information Technology Services (UITS) at Indiana University.