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Merit Completes 10 Gigabit Connection from Alpena to Powers, Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network engineers have completed a 3,000 foot-long segment of fiber-optic network on the edge of Alpena and have lit a 10 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) network connection between Alpena and Powers, Michigan. Lit by ADVA optical networking equipment, the dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) fiber-optic connection goes from Alpena west to Gaylord, then north to Indian River and St. Ignace, and then east to Escanaba and Powers. This is Merit’s second 10 Gbps network path in the Upper Peninsula; the first goes from St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie.

With the completion of the network segment, Merit has nearly completed all of rounds one and two of the REACH-3MC fiber-optic network in Michigan. Only a segment between Houghton and Calumet in the Western Upper Peninsula remains.

“We’ve built fiber-optic infrastructure all the way to Superior, Wisconsin,” said Michael Milliken, director of network engineering at Merit Network. “In Michigan, we have built and lit most of the REACH-3MC network in the Upper Peninsula, with routes going to Ironwood, Menominee and Houghton. Just the connection between Houghton, Hancock, and Calumet remains to be completed in Michigan. We also need to complete the DWDM network paths into Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

Merit’s completion of the fiber-optic network in the Alpena area will be celebrated on Monday, October 28, 2013, with a special press event at Alpena Community College’s Newport Center. Community representatives will speak at the event, which starts at 3 p.m.

“We are pleased to complete the network in the Alpena area and look forward to celebrating with the members of the community,” said Elwood Downing, vice president of member relations, communications, services and product development at Merit. “We have been working hard to bring gigabit network speeds to the area for a number of years, and the new network will greatly benefit organizations in the community and in Northeast Michigan.”

Merit’s REACH-3MC project has currently built over 2,100 miles of fiber-optic network infrastructure in Michigan. The new network will connect over 190 community anchor institutions, such as libraries, schools and government buildings.

network upgrade map

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc., is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained at the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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The REACH Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative (REACH-3MC) will build 2,287 miles of open-access, advanced fiber-optic network through rural and underserved communities in Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The network will also provide backhaul to key connection points in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Led by Merit Network, Michigan’s research and education network, REACH-3MC includes sub-recipients from the private sector to make broadband readily available to households and businesses that lack adequate service options in the 52 counties that make up the project service area. REACH-3MC is funded by a two grants (Round I and Round II) from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), commonly referenced as the Stimulus Package.