Operations Year in Review and a Look Forward

By Tommy Jacobson, Chief Operating Officer & Vice President

Tommy Jacobson, MCNC COO and VPAs MCNC closes one fiscal year and embarks on another, I feel proud of what our team has achieved from a business and operational perspective.

This past year marked the 10-year anniversary of MCNC providing service through NCREN to North Carolina’s K-12 community. I can still remember the many conversations I had with technology directors 10 years ago explaining the project and how connectivity to the North Carolina Research and Education Network would help them.  Thanks to great partnerships with the Friday Institute and the Department of Public Instruction, the School Connectivity Initiative has been a huge success.  We just recently were fortunate enough to secure a three-year contract extension with the North Carolina Department of Information Technology to continue providing this service for DPI and all K-12 school districts and charter schools across the state.  Coupled with a four-year contract extension with the North Carolina Community College System for services to all 58 community colleges, and being one year into a three-year agreement with the University of North Carolina General Administration, MCNC is poised to continue providing world-class service to North Carolina’s greatest assets -- its citizens.

The year also saw significant growth in securing the current and future operational needs of NCREN with many projects completed or commenced that will enable us to serve the needs of our community for the next decade. In total nearly $26M of capital investments were made this past year or will be made in the coming one to continue to grow NCREN.

Huntersville Hut Installation
Huntersville Hut Installation
  • We undertook construction of a colocation facility in Huntersville to consolidate similar facilities in the Charlotte area.  Huntersville represents a location where many MCNC fiber assets interconnect the western and southeastern parts of the state to the central Carolina region.
  • We also completed upgrades to our primary optical network between Raleigh and Charlotte -- doubling our optical channel capacity from 40 channels to 80 on one of our primary paths.

Significant infrastructure changes are also taking place as we embark on fiscal year 2018.

  1. We have begun to migrate our core IP and MPLS networks together to form a 200 Gbps production core, which is just in time as we are now seeing peak bandwidth usage of 133 Gbps on NCREN.  These optical network and routed networks upgrades enable MCNC to more easily meet the continued growing bandwidth demands of our users.
  2. With support from the Golden LEAF Foundation, a new fiber path is being enabled between Hamlet and Greensboro. This path will serve twenty-three additional CAIs directly off 90 miles of MCNC managed fiber in this geographic region.
  3. MCNC is in the midst of some exciting fiber builds in the Triangle region. You will hear more about this in the coming year.

With an eye on the future, we are making focused efforts to ensure the network we provide and the services we offer meet or exceed the needs of the NCREN community.

I, along with my colleagues at MCNC, am honored to be entrusted to provide service to you.