Pitt Part of Coalition for $128M Statewide Broadband Network Project

Issue Date: 
March 15, 2010

As a founding partner of the Keystone Initiative for Network-Based Education and Research (KINBER), the University of Pittsburgh is part of a $128 million project to develop a statewide broadband education and research network known as the Pennsylvania Research and Education Network (PennREN). The project is being funded through a $99 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and $29 million in private investment.

“The University’s participation in PennREN provides exciting opportunities for collaboration in education and research for Pitt students and faculty while enabling us to extend our reach to underserved areas of the Commonwealth,” said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “Participation in this project will enhance the University’s already strong collaborative efforts with Carnegie Mellon and UPMC, which also are part of the initiative, as well as with colleges and universities statewide.”

PennREN will extend approximately 1,700 miles upon completion, with the potential to serve more than five million individuals and 200,000 businesses in 39 Pennsylvania counties. Of those counties, 22 are currently unserved or underserved, based on their access to affordable broadband services.

“The University already benefits from regional network services provided through the Three Rivers Optical Exchange (3ROX) and the University’s partnerships with UPMC, Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, and others. PennREN will provide network service for the first time that extends throughout the entire Commonwealth,” said Jinx Walton, Pitt’s director of Computing Services and Systems Development and a member of the KINBER Board of Directors.

In addition to Pitt, the founding members of KINBER include the Association for Independent Colleges; the University of Pennsylvania; Bucknell University; Carnegie Mellon University; Drexel University; EINetworks, a collaboration of the Allegheny Library Association and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; the Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania; Lehigh University; the Mid-Atlantic Gigapop for Internet2 at the University of Pennsylvania; the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges; the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education; The Pennsylvania State University; 3ROX; and UPMC.