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Merit Lights REACH-3MC II Network Segments in Lower Peninsula

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. announced today the completion of three key segments of their Round II REACH-3MC network build-out: Grand Rapids to Big Rapids, Rose City to Oscoda, and Hillman to Posen. Merit has completed construction on the segments and activated optical network equipment that is used to “light” the newly installed fiber to provide service.
REACH-3MC and ARRA logo
The fiber-optic cable lit today is part of the Round II REACH-3MC “mainline.” Led by Merit Network, the goal of REACH-3MC is to construct fiber-optic infrastructure that connects communities together. In the process, Merit connects community anchor institutions (schools, libraries, health care, government, public safety) by way of “laterals,” or spurs, from the mainline.

An additional three community anchor institutions have received lateral connections along the completed network segments announced today. The laterals have 1 gigabit (Gbps) capacity and connect the anchor institutions to Merit’s network. With the mainline now lit, Merit expects to have those two institutions transitioned to the new and improved service made possible by REACH-3MC within two weeks.

The connection between Grand Rapids and Big Rapids announced today will provide Merit Governing Members, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and Ferris State University (FSU) with additional redundancy. Merit plans to have these paths lit at 10 Gbps speeds in the future.

“I am proud to announce fiber continuity and lit service between Grand Rapids to Big Rapids, Rose City to Oscoda, and Hillman to Posen,” said Michael Milliken, director of network engineering for Merit Network.

“The segments announced today provide an additional 200 miles of critical infrastructure that strengthen Merit’s REACH-3MC footprint in the Lower Peninsula. We now have geographically diverse, redundant paths between Traverse City and Mount Pleasant and multiple redundant connections out of Big Rapids and Grand Rapids to better serve our Members. The resiliency and quality of the network in these locations translates to superior service.”

Merit expects to announce completion on the remaining Round II REACH-3MC segments in Michigan’s Northern Lower and Upper Peninsulas later this summer.

REACH-3MC update 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.

For more information: www.merit.edu

About REACH-3MC

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.

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