ONUG Communications Wins First Bid for MCNC’s Broadband Expansion

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Raleigh-based company to begin work on expanding North Carolina Research and Education Network

ONUG Communications Contact: Sid Reynolds: +1 (919) 878.8989 or sreynolds@signatureagency.com MCNC Contact: April Connery: +1 (919) 248.4105 or aconnery@mcnc.org Agency Contact: Noah Garrett, NGC Communications: +1 (252) 423.1277 or press@mcnc.org

RALEIGH, N.C. (April 16, 2010)MCNC, an independent non-profit organization that employs advanced networking technologies and systems to continuously improve learning and collaboration throughout North Carolina's K-20 education community, today announced that ONUG Communications Inc. of Raleigh has been chosen to provide engineering, design, and related services for approximately 500 miles of new “middle mile” broadband infrastructure in 37 counties in rural southeastern and western North Carolina.

ONUG Communications’ work will be in support of MCNC’s January 2010 Federal broadband recovery grant of $28.2 million. MCNC received the funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP). The BTOP program is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

This new broadband infrastructure will help expand the optical footprint of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) which provides Internet and Intranet services to nearly all of North Carolina’s three million K-20 students. In addition, through MCNC’s private sector partner FRC/PalmettoNet, “last mile” carriers will have access to added options to procure wholesale broadband services in these rural areas.

“MCNC has an important role in driving and implementing high-speed broadband connectivity that meets the needs of all citizens in North Carolina,” said Tommy Jacobson, NCREN’s Director of Engineering and Chief Architect. “MCNC received several proposals that met or exceeded the required guidelines, but ONUG Communications’ application coupled with a successful history of completing a variety of telecommunications and utility projects already in North Carolina really matched well for the requirements needed for this intense effort.”

ONUG Communications will provide detailed engineering services, material specifications, environmental assessments, permitting, and project planning for the new fiber-optic network.

“As a North Carolina based company, we fully realize the important role broadband plays in expanding our state’s economy,” added Danny Huffman, President of ONUG Communications. “We’re excited to have been selected to work with MCNC on this high-profile project and look forward to utilizing our depth of fiber-optic engineering, design, project management, and construction experience in the telecommunications and power distribution space to assist MCNC in a successful implementation.”

Request for Proposals (RFP) for this portion of MCNC’s broadband expansion throughout the state opened March 1 and closed March 22. Additional RFPs will be made available soon for a variety of other work. Vendors interested in submitting proposals as they become available can visit MCNC’s website at www.mcnc.org. Potential applicants must register online to access and download the RFP instructions package. Questions can be emailed to btop-rfp@mcnc.org.

MCNC also is seeking an additional $78 million in federal funds through BTOP Round 2 in a project called the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative. If funded, this proposal will bring broadband infrastructure to even more rural areas.

If the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative receives funding, MCNC will have the means to build a $111 million broadband fiber network that will include 1,448 miles of new fiber through 69 counties North Carolina. Sixty-seven of the 69 counties currently are classified as underserved or partially underserved for broadband connections. This historic project for North Carolina will create more than 1,000 temporary engineering and construction jobs (average period 1.5 years) and 10-12 permanent jobs to manage the fiber infrastructure. Download Proposed Funded Area Map.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $7.2 billion and directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities across the United States, increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits. The result is the RUS Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) and NTIA’s BTOP.