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Merit Network to End Dial-in Services as of July 2, 2007

Merit Network is publicly announcing today that its dial-in services will be discontinued as of Monday, July 2, 2007. This change was announced last November to organizations that use Merit’s dial-in services.

As of July 2, Merit’s local dial-in numbers throughout Michigan will become unavailable, as will Merit’s toll-free dial-in access number and global service. A number of related services will also be ended or transitioned to alternative carriers.

For many years, Merit’s dial-in service has uniquely allowed organizations to share their dial-in investments to lower costs and vastly expand geographical coverage for their users. This has been a signal achievement for Merit and the many organizations that participated in developing and expanding the service. It played a significant role in spurring Internet use within Michigan, particularly in rural areas.

Today, the performance of computers, applications and online services has fundamentally outstripped the usefulness of a dial-in connection. Merit’s decision reflects this reality as well as the fact that there has been improvement in the availability of higher bandwidth services. Although Michigan still has continued need for growth in broadband access, providers have expanded DSL and cable broadband coverage; the Universal Service Fund has enabled schools and libraries to afford broadband connections; public broadband wireless has become more widely available; and organizations are increasingly making capital investments in fiber acquisition.

As these factors have converged, Merit’s Member organizations that provide dial-in service for their users have responded accordingly. All have reduced the size of their dial-in provisioning as usage has decreased. Some have opted to end dial-in service entirely, reasoning that their users can choose their own service from available options and that organizational resources are better spent on other priorities.

For all of these reasons, the dial-in service has shrunk in every measure over the past several years, a trend that is fully expected to continue. Given this fact, along with the wide availability of alternatives throughout Michigan, Merit management and the Merit board of directors have agreed that this is an appropriate time to end dial-in services.

This change does not affect Merit’s other services: providing high-bandwidth Internet services to education and research organizations throughout Michigan; operating a statewide IP backbone network increasingly based on owned fiber; participating in research projects and in international networking organizations; and serving as a knowledge transfer organization for the benefit of education and research.

Merit Member organizations that wish to continue providing dial-in services have been referred to firms that may be able to provide the relevant services. While some may wish to pursue this possibility, others may find a transition impossible or choose this as an appropriate time to end dial-in services for their organizations.

Individuals affected by this change should contact the organization that provides them with access for more information.

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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