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Merit Network Continues to Expand Its Network Infrastructure

ANN ARBOR, MI — Just two months after announcing the completion of the 500-mile, facilities-based “Blue Line” fiber-optic network, Merit Network, Inc. has announced that they have made another significant upgrade to America’s longest-running research and education network. The most recent enhancement to Merit’s backbone network is the upgrade of one of two links to the Internet2 Network.
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Merit has been a member of Internet2 since 1998 and began offering Internet2 Network access to all Merit Sponsored Education Group Participants (SEGPs) in June of last year. As of today’s announcement Merit’s link to the Internet2 Network in Chicago has increased from 10 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) to 20 gigabits-per-second. Merit has a second 10G link to the Internet2 Network in Chicago providing an additional 10 Gbps in capacity. Earlier this year, Internet2 introduced a new network connection fee model that provides network members, such as Merit, to more easily access and provide any combination of network services offered by Internet2 to their constituencies.

According to Elwood Downing, vice-president of member relations, communications and professional learning for Merit Network, “access to Internet2 provides our Members with tremendous capability to provide e-learning, long-distance collaboration, as well as, virtual field trips, scavenger hunts, and real-time learning experiences with students at other schools around the globe.”

“Internet2 and Merit share a long and productive history of partnership, and we are pleased to support Merit’s expansion,” said Rob Vietzke, Internet2 Executive Director of Network Services, “As Merit’s membership grows, so does the interaction of the whole research and education community. We look forward to seeing the benefits that this added capacity brings to Michigan, and witnessing the innovations that Merit’s member community will then bring to the larger advanced networking community.”

Don Welch, president and CEO, Merit Network went on to say, “Merit and Internet2 are part of a fabric of advanced networks that serve our members. Together we provide high speed access to the most advanced research and education resources throughout the world.”

“This expanded capacity lays the foundation for the additional growth in membership expected with the announcement of Merit’s successful application for federal stimulus funding to build a 1,017-mile expansion to Merit’s fiber-optic network,” stated Welch.

The federal stimulus project, known as REACH-3MC, promises to extend critical broadband service to rural and underserved communities across 32 Michigan counties. As the REACH-3MC project connects additional Members to Merit’s fiber-optic backbone, more Members will be in a position to take advantage of Merit’s connection to the Internet2 Network. Merit is the sole provider of Internet2 Network connectivity in the State of Michigan, providing access to higher education, K-12, government and health care organizations. Over 125 Merit Members in Michigan currently connect to the Internet2 Network through Merit.

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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About Internet2

Internet2 is the foremost U.S. advanced networking consortium. Led by the research and education community since 1996, Internet2 promotes the missions of its members by providing both leading-edge network capabilities and unique partnership opportunities that together facilitate the development, deployment and use of revolutionary Internet technologies. By bringing research and academia together with technology leaders from industry, government and the international community, Internet2 promotes collaboration and innovation that has a fundamental impact on the future of the Internet.

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