North Carolina Community Welcomes Broadband Expansion

The larger fiber network project connects all 115 school districts, all 58 community colleges, the universities, public health clinics, hospitals and public safety, according to officials.

by Micki Bare, The Courier Tribune / March 7, 2018

(TNS) — ASHEBORO, N.C. — The largest fiber optic network in the state has reached into Randolph County, providing more broadband access to organizations and citizens, and adding another piece to the infrastructure puzzle.

MCNC, the nonprofit owner and operator of the N.C. Research and Education Network (NCREN), celebrated the completion of its Central Carolina Fiber Project with an event Tuesday at Randolph Community College.

The fiber network reaches from Greensboro to Hamlet, running directly through the center of Randolph County and connecting 22 Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs), all of which now have direct connections on MCNC-maintained fiber network facilities.

“They are providing more access and reliability in broadband internet for organizations in rural communities. This is something that's huge in us doing our job and completing our mission,” RCC President Dr. Robert Shackleford Jr. said about MCNC during his opening remarks. “This is a piece of infrastructure that is crucial.”

Randolph Community College is one of the newest CAIs directly connected to NCREN and also now houses a network regeneration facility on the Asheboro campus.

MCNC is an organization based out of Research Triangle Park that owns and operates the largest fiber optic network in the state.

“Our network connects all 115 school districts, all 58 community colleges, the universities, public health clinics, hospitals and public safety,” MCNC President and CEO Jean Davis said. “The power of that network really provides our students, our citizens, our community with an opportunity to collaborate and to be part of the global economy. It's really transforming lives.”

The Central Carolina Fiber Project was made possible through a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation.

“(This expansion) builds on the MCNC track record of serving the state's broadband needs with reliability and affordability.” Dan Gerlach, president of the Golden LEAF Foundation, said. “Our expectations are that our educational institutions take advantage of this, provide an even better quality of learning, be able to attract the type of teachers who want to teach, and take advantage of that high-quality, digital learning. We're wanting to help show companies that we have the infrastructure close by.”

A panel of speakers each gave overviews of their programs and the impact of internet connectivity on their ability to efficiently and effectively provide services. Included on the panel were Shane Bryson, RCC Recruitment and Student Life specialist; Jean Payne, Daymark Recovery Services Technology coordinator; Ross Holt, Randolph County Public Library director; and Mike Copley, director and Randolph County School System WAN engineer.

After presentations, guests toured the network regeneration facility.

In addition to RCC, the fiber expansion has connected the following CAIs:

  • Allen Public Library (formerly Biscoe Public Library).
  • Asheboro City Schools.
  • Asheboro/Randolph County Public Library.
  • Currie Memorial Library.
  • Daymark Recovery Services — Randolph Center.
  • Daymark Recovery Services — Richmond Center.
  •  Greensboro Central Public Library.
  • Guilford County Schools.
  • High Point Regional Physicians Network — Asheboro Cardiology.
  • High Point Regional Physicians Network — Asheboro Neurology.
  • Kemp Sugg Memorial Library.
  • N.C. State Highway Patrol Troop D District.
  • Randleman Public Library.
  • Randolph Community College.
  • Randolph County School System.
  • Randolph Health.
  • Richmond County Health Department.
  • Seagrove Public Library.
  • Star Public Library.
  • Thomas H. Leath Memorial Library.
  • Triad Math and Science Academy.
  • Uwharrie Charter Academy.

©2018 The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, N.C. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.