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Broadband produces 'Big Thinking' in North Carolina

NCREN Community Day 2012 at Elon University highlights current, future efforts of high-speed connectivity in state

ELON, N.C., Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MCNC, the private, not-for-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), today announced that more than 200 educators, researchers, government officials, and business leaders from all over North Carolina gathered at Elon University on Thursday and Friday to "think big" about the future of high-speed Internet, networking, and the applications broadband enables during NCREN Community Day 2012.

Each year, MCNC recognizes and celebrates the progress and achievements from all over the state with NCREN Community Day. This year's "think big" theme highlighted both the current work of network constituents as well as the future of big data and broadband, health care, K-20 education, video, cloud computing, fiber expansion, shared services, and the role broadband plays in economic development and job creation in North Carolina.

MCNC President and CEO Joe Freddoso provided an update on the $144 million Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative, noting the second phase of the project is 90 percent complete with the overall project scheduled to be finished in spring 2013. He also challenged attendees to think about what this historic expansion of NCREN will mean for the state.

"North Carolina continues to set a national benchmark by leveraging NCREN to provide high-performance broadband connectivity in the public sector, and we are nearly finished with the surmounting challenge of building an owned, statewide optical fiber network to become the new and advanced NCREN," Freddoso said. "This new infrastructure affordably and effectively removes bandwidth restraints from how we conduct public service, education, health care, and economic development in North Carolina. So, now it is time to 'think big' on how we use it."

MCNC also announced the winners of this year's annual NCREN Community Awards.

The Robyn Render Endeavor Award was presented to James P. Gogan, director of networking at UNC Chapel Hill. This year's Empower Award recipient was Nash Community College Chief Information Officer Jonathan Vester. And, Lee Sartain, education policy specialist at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at N.C. State University, received this year's Community Choice Award, which was based on popular vote.

Event highlights on the first day included two workshops on grant writing and social media. Janna Anderson, associate professor of communications at Elon University, presented research from the nationally-recognized Imagining the Internet Center, which she also oversees. Meg Lowman, director of the Nature Research Center at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, showcased how connectivity is aiding in research projects all over the world. Mladen Vouk, associate vice provost for IT at N.C. State University, talked about the exciting work to virtualize Centennial Campus through cloud-based services and applications. Paul Jones, director of and clinical associate professor at UNC Chapel Hill, presented on how email isn't necessary today; a talk that participants selected from a Doodle Pol prior to the event.

The second day started with Business with Bacon with MCNC staff and moved into a panel discussion on the history and evolution of MCNC. Dr. Steve North of Bakersville Community Medical Clinic presented on the work surrounding rural school-based telemedicine for students which led into a legislative panel discussion featuring North Carolina Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, Jr. and Rep. Linda Johnson. Jonathan Vester, Chief Information Officer at Nash Community College, closed out the day discussing video services and how these capabilities are extending today's modern classrooms.

This year's sponsors included: Cisco Systems, DukeNet Communications, Presidio, mediasite by Sonicfoundry, K&L Gates, Time Warner Cable Business Class, CommScope, ePlus, Wells Fargo Insurance, WRAL Tech Wire; and special thanks to the year's host, Elon University.

About MCNC

MCNC is an independent, non-profit corporation. MCNC's main focus is to operate the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN). For a more than a quarter century, NCREN provides advanced Intranet and Internet connectivity to a constantly expanding number of Community Anchor Institutions throughout North Carolina. Today's users of NCREN include all 17 institutions of the University of North Carolina System, all 58 North Carolina Community Colleges, all 115 K-12 public school districts as well as a growing number of K-12 charter and private schools, the majority of the state's private colleges and universities, several non-profit and public health care facilities, and a number of the state's premier research institutions. NCREN also serves as the Internet gateway network for all state employees. MCNC currently is working on a $144 million expansion of NCREN scheduled to be completed in 2013. This initiative is labeled the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative. Visit or follow @MCNC.


Photos from the two-day event as well as this year's award winners are available on MCNC's Facebook Page.

Online Resources and Social Media

Keywords and Tags

MCNC, NCREN, Elon, Higher Education, Broadband, BTOP, ARRA, GLRBI, distance learning, community anchor institutions, North Carolina, NC, triad, K-12 education, telehealth, telecom, Internet, web, NC events, NC non-profits, networking, education

Editorial Contacts
MCNC Communications Hotline: (919) 248.4105
Noah Garrett, NGC Communications, on behalf of MCNC: (252) 423.1277 or


About PR Newswire
Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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