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For Immediate Release

With New Broadband Infrastructure, Hillsdale Aims to Attract Information Technology Organizations to Area

March 24, 2009

By Brian Warkoczeski

HILLSDALE, MI - With data now zooming across its new high-speed community network, the City of Hillsdale has completed significant upgrades to its network infrastructure and is looking to attract information technology (IT) organizations to the southern Michigan town.

"Hillsdale is working to be at the forefront of Web 2.0 and providing our area with the best available and most dependable fiber-optic service," according to Michael "Mitch" Mitchell, Hillsdale's city manager. "Our partnering with Merit accomplishes that."

Through a partnership between the City of Hillsdale, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale County Intermediate School District (ISD), and Merit Network, a fiber-optic network ring was built in 2008 to improve connectivity in the city and reduce network costs for the Hillsdale-area organizations. The three miles of fiber-optic cabling that was provisioned to create the network ring extends from the northern part of Hillsdale to the east and then down to City Hall and the Hillsdale Community Library before going west to Hillsdale County ISD.

The Hillsdale Community Network provides connected organizations with access to the Internet and Internet2 through a connection to Merit Network's high-speed backbone network. The new network also enables the City of Hillsdale to offer reliable connectivity to IT and research companies that locate in the industrial park on the northern-edge of town. The Hillsdale Board of Public Utilities has specified 24 stands of fiber on the network for use in the industrial park complex.

"Having the ability to offer high-speed connectivity in our industrial park gives us the opportunity to attract IT-related businesses," said Christine Bowman, economic development director for Hillsdale, "possibly even a data center, which would help to diversify our local economy."

Merit Network, an Ann Arbor-based non-profit governed by Michigan's public universities, provides high-speed network solutions and is working with several communities in rural Michigan, including Hillsdale and Alpena, to provide better broadband connectivity. The collaboration between the organizations in Hillsdale provided significant benefits, including lower costs.

"We saw a cost reduction for the city," according to Eric Macy, contractor for the City of Hillsdale and owner of Nonik. "We knew that we needed infrastructure for the future. We could have done a local network on our own, but we wanted to collaborate with others. If we had to do it all ourselves, it would have taken a lot longer to pull off."

"The City of Hillsdale is well positioned to leverage their fiber-optic network," said Elwood Downing, vice president of member relations, communications and professional learning for Merit Network. "They have good leadership and an eye on advancing economic development within Hillsdale. They understand the value of great communication and cooperation, and they understand the power of collaboration!"

The fiber-optic network provides valuable bandwidth that could be used to implement new services, such as IP telephone service or interactive videoconferencing, or share resources with other organizations.

"You build the road and figure out what you're going to put on it," Macy said. "(The network) is something that multiple organizations can use for multiple purposes—Internet, phone service, and more."


Hillsdale Communit Network photo 1

About the City of Hillsdale

The city of Hillsdale is located in the rolling hills of South Central Michigan, bordering Indiana and Ohio. With a population of approximately 8300 residents, it is the county seat of Hillsdale County and home to Hillsdale College. For more information, please see: www.cityofhillsdale.org

About Merit Network

Merit Network, Inc., a non-profit corporation governed by Michigan's public universities, owns and operates America's longest-running regional research and education network. Founded in 1966, Merit supports the high-performance networking needs of Michigan's universities, colleges, K-12 schools, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations. Through Merit, Michigan's research and education organizations have access to leading-edge network research, state and national collaborative initiatives and international peering. For more information, see: www.merit.edu


For more information, contact:

Christine Bowman
Economic Development Director
City of Hillsdale
Phone: (517)437-6479
Email:

Elwood Downing
Merit Network, Inc.
Phone: (734)527-5702
Email:



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