MCNC selects Kimley-Horn for Engineering Design Services for GLRBI

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This is the first contract awarded for the $106 million
Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative

Editorial Contact:
Noah Garrett, NGC Communications, on behalf of MCNC: +1 (252) 423.1277 or press@mcnc.org
Julie K. Beauvais, Kimley-Horn and Associates: +1 (919) 653.6626 or julie.beauvais@kimley-horn.com
MCNC Communications Hotline: +1 (919) 248.4105


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (Nov. 4, 2010) – MCNC today announced that Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. has been selected for Engineering Design Services and Environmental Assessments relating to the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI). The total contract is estimated at $6.5 million.

The GLRBI is a $106 million broadband infrastructure project that on Aug. 18 received $75.75 million through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP) and a $24 million matching grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation. An additional $6.55 million in match was raised from the MCNC endowment, donations of land from individual community colleges, universities and others, and a donation of already-installed conduit in northeastern North Carolina from the Albemarle Pamlico Economic Development Corporation.

MCNC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) on Sept. 9 with bids closing on Oct. 4. The RFP sought to identify an appropriate vendor(s) to provide outside plant engineering and an environmental assessment relating to the construction of approximately 1,200 miles of middle-mile fiber infrastructure and direct-fiber connections to 170 community colleges, libraries, schools, health and safety facilities, and other community anchor institutions (CAIs) through the GLRBI.

“The Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative through MCNC will open doors to distance learning and other economic growth opportunities for citizens in rural areas across the state,” said Mark Wilson, chairman and CEO at Kimley-Horn. “We’re excited about the opportunity to put our expertise to work on such an important project for our home state.”

Kimley-Horn and Associates, headquartered in Raleigh, is one of the nation's top design engineering and planning firms. The firm has six offices in North Carolina.

The GLRBI bridges the prosperity gap by delivering broadband infrastructure to much of rural North Carolina and by building both middle-mile infrastructure and direct connections to CAIs in the rural northeastern (east of Henderson and Rocky Mount), northwestern (Asheville to Boone), north central (east of Sparta to Henderson), south central (Charlotte to Wilmington), and Graham County portions of North Carolina.

“It's significant that as MCNC begins to construct the 400 miles of fiber included in our first BTOP award that we also announce the first contract related to the GLRBI. We are pleased to begin the planning process for the GLRBI with Kimley-Horn being selected to lead the design and the environmental portion of the project,” said Tommy Jacobson, MCNC Vice President of Network Infrastructure Initiatives. “As we build on the progress we have made this year, this second round project will be a significant step in serving the broadband needs of our community anchor institutions in rural areas of the state. We hope to form private-sector partnerships so that the benefits of this infrastructure can be extended to businesses and consumers in these rural areas.”

MCNC will use the GLRBI award to further expand the existing North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN). In its operation of NCREN, MCNC currently serves the backbone Intranet and Internet network needs of almost all of the state’s K-20 education institutions. This project includes more than a thousand miles of new fiber throughout 69 counties that will ensure K-12 schools, universities, community colleges, university hospitals and other CAIs will have access to unlimited amounts of bandwidth now and into the future. Consumers and small businesses along the fiber build also will be reached with enhanced broadband service through wholesale and last-mile commercial telecommunications and cable providers with whom MCNC has and is forming partnerships.

Prior to the GLRBI award, MCNC received $28.2 million through BTOP’s Round 1 phase in January to fund the engineering and construction of approximately 400 miles of new fiber to expand the optical footprint of NCREN in southeastern and western North Carolina. MCNC raised $11.7 million in matching funds for its successful Round 1 application through private sources, including $4 million from the MCNC endowment, making the total project a $40 million investment in broadband infrastructure. No state tax dollars were used to fund this project. The GLRBI builds on MCNC’s Round 1 BTOP award to where North Carolina now will benefit from more than $140 million to expand high-speed connectivity in rural unserved and underserved portions of the state.

Requests for Proposals and other announcements associated with GLRBI are forthcoming.

Both of MCNC’s awards are a part of a coordinated strategy developed by the Office of the Governor, the N.C. Office of Economic Recovery & Investment and e-NC, the state’s rural broadband authority, to improve broadband access for businesses and residents in underserved areas. Once all work is complete, the two rounds of BTOP infrastructure have the potential to serve directly, or through MCNC partnerships with private-sector service providers, more than 1,500 anchor institutions, 180,000 businesses, and reach more than 300,000 underserved families.

For more information regarding all of MCNC’s BTOP activities, visit MCNC/BTOP Central Web Space online.

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About Kimley-Horn

Kimley-Horn and Associates is a 1,500-person firm headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., with over 60 offices nationwide. The firm has been listed among the top 100 Best Firms to Work For by Fortune for the last six years, and is ranked among the top 20 pure design firms in the nation by Engineering News-Record. Kimley-Horn provides planning and design consulting services related to transportation and technology, aviation, the environment, land development, transit, urban planning/landscape architecture, energy, and water resources.

About the Golden LEAF Foundation:

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,003 grants worth over $471 million since its inception. To learn more about applying for a grant, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call (888) 684.8404.