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Merit Network Lights REACH-3MC Network from Monroe to Traverse City

ANN ARBOR, MI – Merit Network, Inc. announced today the completion of two key segments of their REACH-3MC network build-out: Beulah to Traverse City, and Centreville to Coldwater. 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 logos
Today’s announcement marks a significant achievement for the project as the REACH-3MC network has fiber continuity and lit service spanning approximately 569 miles, from Monroe in the southeast to the northwest into Traverse City.

The fiber-optic cable lit today is part of the Round I 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 8 community anchor institutions have received lateral connections along the two 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 8 institutions transitioned to the new and improved service made possible by REACH-3MC within two weeks.

“I am proud to announce fiber continuity and lit service between Beulah and Traverse City and Centreville to Coldwater,” said Michael Milliken, director of network engineering for Merit Network. “With these segments now lit, our Round I project now has continuity spanning the entire REACH-3MC Southern corridor and the majority of the Western corridor.”

Traverse City will operate as the site of Merit’s OADM node for their network in Northwest Michigan. The optical equipment activated today will give Merit the ability to light up to 40 10 gigabit (Gbps) waves out of Traverse City.

Merit expects to announce completion on the remaining Round I REACH-3MC segments before January 31, 2013.

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.