Welcome to the 6th Annual 12 Days of Broadband
MCNC is pleased to bring you once again the 12 Days of Broadband throughout the month of December. The 12 Days of Broadband between Dec. 1 and Dec. 16 will showcase a dozen broadband innovations impacting communities in North Carolina and across America as well as preview what’s to come in 2017.
The 12 Days of Broadband between Dec. 1 and Dec. 16 will showcase a dozen broadband innovations impacting communities in North Carolina and across America as well as preview what’s to come in 2017. Now in its sixth year, the 12 Days of Broadband has been a great way to showcase how investments in network bandwidth in North Carolina can help ensure our citizens are prepared for today’s interconnected economy. NCREN has provided the broadband infrastructure to connect North Carolina citizens to the path of success for more than three decades. The expanded network of today is 2,600 miles spanning virtually every county in North Carolina. Today‘s users of NCREN include, but not limited to, 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 charter and private schools, the majority of the state’s private colleges and universities, several non-profit and public health care facilities, public safety agencies, museums, libraries, and most of the state’s premier research organizations.
You can follow the 12 Days of Broadband all month on social media using #12Days or on Twitter at @MCNC.
MCNC has announced a first-in-the-nation, proof of concept to extend InCommon Federated Identity Management (FIM) technologies from universities to now include K-12 education and community colleges in North Carolina – giving participating institutions the ability to use a secure credential to safely access a wide array of online educational resources. The details of the project were revealed during NCREN Community Day 2016 on Thursday and Friday (Nov. 3-4) at the DoubleTree by Hilton Raleigh Brownstone-University. In 2013, education and technology leaders in eight states began collaborating with other regional networks through The Quilt and InCommon (a service of Internet2) to extend advanced trust and identity solutions used at the nation’s top universities to K-12 and community college students, faculty and staff as part of a set of pilots. Over time, those pilots evolved to build the InCommon Steward Program, which is currently a proof of concept happening only in North Carolina in partnership with MCNC. Read more
Advanced broadband for anchor institutions enhances the competitiveness of communities and encourages economic development. Serving anchor institutions must be complemented by high-capacity, affordable residential broadband to complete the picture. In order to achieve ubiquitous broadband availability, all options for providing that must be on the table. In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly instituted legislation limiting the authority of local governments to build broadband Internet networks. The bill, HB 129, also known as the Level Playing Field Act, passed. After the statute went into effect, The City of Wilson was allowed to continue operating its Greenlight network but they were prohibited from extending its services beyond Wilson County. The city along with the Chattanooga, Tenn., subsequently petitioned the FCC for a preemption of the state law. In February 2015, the FCC ruled in their favor in a 3-2 vote along party lines. Read more
Offered through a partnership between the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, UNC School of Government’s Center for Public Technology and MCNC, the Certified Educational Chief Technology Officer (CeCTO) program is one of the nation’s first technology-centered certification programs for educators. The program features two components – one designed for superintendents and the other for technology directors. Superintendents participate in the "Leaders for the 21st Century" track – a 20-hour instructional course supplemented with required collaborative sessions with CeCTO candidates. Technology directors participate in 240 hours of instruction. Candidates also integrate study with the National Certified Government Chief Information Officer (CGCIO) program at UNC Chapel Hill. This 10-month program helps establish the core competencies IT leaders need in today’s education environment using a variety of instructional methodologies, including face-to-face sessions, synchronous online sessions, and asynchronous online sessions. Read more
On Oct. 1, the contract between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), to perform the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, officially expired. This historic moment marks the transition of the coordination and management of the Internet’s unique identifiers to the private-sector, a process that has been committed to and underway since 1998. Attorney generals in Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas filed a lawsuit the day before the transition to block the turnover, citing that it was unconstitutional and required congressional approval. But, a federal judge in the Southern District of Texas denied that request for a temporary restraining order. A day later, ICANN assumed control of the Internet's address book. ICANN is a non-profit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces of the Internet, ensuring the network's stable and secure operation. Read more
MCNC aims to make North Carolina the most connected state in the country by 2020, and that smart broadband for North Carolina starts with MCNC on one of the nation’s best networks benefiting the public good. Technology and broadband connectivity play a massive role in the everyday lives of North Carolina citizens. Guided by innovation, economic development, security, relationships with state government and thought leadership, MCNC has transformed into an organization that provides not just high-speed, broadband networking on the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) but other value-added services and technology solutions for many key education and business verticals across the state. One of the ways MCNC accomplishes its mission is by providing an innovative work environment for staff, demonstrating a commitment to each employee’s well-being as well as professional development. Read more
Google Vice President Vint Cerf, known as the "father of the Internet" for his pioneering work in creating its basic networking protocols, was honored with the Areté Medallion this fall at Elon University. Imagining the Internet, an initiative of Elon's School of Communications, hosted the September event in the McCrary Theatre in Elon's Center for the Arts. Cerf, 73, worked with Bob Kahn in the 1970s to create the revolutionary TCP/IP protocol suite that led to the operational launch of the Internet on Jan. 1, 1983, followed by an explosion of innovation that led to systems for email, file-sharing, the World Wide Web, WiFi, mobile networks and millions of online and mobile applications. For the past 11 years Cerf has been a vice president at Google and its chief Internet evangelist as he works to promote better global access to the Internet and innovation in connectivity. Read more
Recognizing that government at all levels can become partners rather than obstacles in deployment of broadband networks across the state, the McCrory administration unveiled the North Carolina Broadband Report in June that aims to provide "universal access" for North Carolina residents by 2021. This summer, the governor said he wanted to expand the reach of high-speed Internet networks, especially in schools and for students at home as well as for medical applications, workforce development and for use by first responders. A top priority remains WiFi access to all public schools by 2018 from the current 65 percent. North Carolina is a leader in the southeast for high-speed Internet availability to its population at 93 percent, according to FCC data. Yet 750,000 North Carolinians still lack access to high-speed Internet, the report notes, and the majority of those live in rural areas. Read more
In May, MCNC was pleased to welcome students from Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham as part of the Students@Work program offered through the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). Students@Work links hundreds of schools and businesses across the state to use these opportunities to raise North Carolina’s graduation rate and close the skills gap by exposing approximately 23,000 students to potential careers. Two months later, MCNC hosted teacher Anthony Pierce of Hillside New Tech High School in Durham for a for the 2016 Teachers@Work program. Teachers@Work also a joint initiative between NCBCE and NCDPI, links education and the business community in order to help teachers create relevance between their classroom curriculum and the skill sets needed by local businesses. Read more
The United States continues to experience unprecedented growth and innovation in broadband and in the advanced applications and services it enables. While the benefits of increased access and adoption are widespread, barriers like income and geography keep some American communities from taking full advantage of the economic, educational, environmental, civic, and social benefits of broadband access. In 2016, the NTIA’s BroadbandUSA team began work on the Community Connectivity Initiative to develop new tools that further support communities working to accelerate broadband deployment, deepen broadband adoption, strengthen local policies, and use broadband to advance local priorities. The Community Connectivity Initiative complements the other tools and resources also available through BroadbandUSA. Read more
Connecting our nation’s schools, libraries, health clinics and other community anchor institutions to next generation high-speed broadband is an important national priority. In an effort to provide federal, state and local leaders with policy options to ensure all anchor institutions have high-speed connections to the Internet, the SHLB Coalition released “Connecting Anchor Institutions: A Broadband Action Plan” in 2016. SHLB (The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition) is the country’s leading advocate for open, affordable, high-capacity broadband for our nation’s community anchor institutions and their communities. The Grow2GiG+ Initiative launched in July is designed to help bring gigabit speed-and-beyond networks to all anchor institutions in America by 2020. Read more
MCNC has consistently been a leader in Internet technology growth, development, and deployment. NCREN helps create unprecedented opportunities for North Carolina citizens where they live, access education, seek economic gain, participate in their governance, and access health care. But, with constantly emerging opportunities also comes with great responsibility for MCNC. Security is an essential part of today’s technology-driven society. Securing an organization’s networking infrastructure requires employees and institutions alike to proactively manage and protect personal and organizational assets. MCNC manages security threats and responses in the context of business risks and has added capabilities this year to rapidly detect and respond to security issues. MCNC has established an Enterprise Risk Management Committee (ERMC) as a way for the organization to identify, catalog, and analyze risks facing MCNC. Read more
In July, MCNC announced that the impact and value of broadband access on North Carolina communities, businesses, and citizens remains one of the most important investments to the state’s economic future. NCREN is North Carolina's premier community anchor network and one of the largest statewide fiber networks of its kind in the United States. Now at 2,600 miles touching virtually every county in the state, MCNC delivers affordable broadband connections to world-renowned research facilities, non-profit health care sites, government and public safety agencies, and to millions of students and educators throughout the state. In total, MCNC now provides technology services to more than 500 community anchor institutions in North Carolina. MCNC has had great achievement in recent years as the organization has nearly doubled in size to 80 employees. Read more