Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research

Pennsylvania Research and Education Network (PennREN)

The Pennsylvania Research and Education Network (PennREN) project is a partnership of leading universities, healthcare providers, library associations, and other key institutions. PennREN will be a nearly 1,700-mile fiber network that expects to expand broadband Internet access and directly connect 60 critical community anchor institutions in 39 counties across South and Central Pennsylvania. These anchor institutions include public and private universities, K–12 schools, public libraries, public broadcasting facilities, and medical facilities. With broadband speeds of 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps, PennREN is expected to enhance healthcare delivery, research, education, workforce development, and public safety. Wholesale services offered are expected to spur the offering of affordable broadband access for more than 2 million households, more than 200,000 businesses, and nearly 1,700 additional anchor institutions.

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BTOP In Action
A KINBER construction crew strings fiber between telephone poles

On March 28, 2011, a Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER) construction crew hung the first strand of fiber for the new 1,600-mile fiber network that will provide high-speed Internet access across Pennsylvania. With this new network, KINBER plans to connect over 60 education, research, healthcare, and economic development community anchor institutions.

KINBER, with the help of its contractor, Sunesys, deployed seven construction crews to string the fiber and stage networking hardware at community anchor institutions. The BTOP-funded project has created more than 50 construction jobs. Through October 2011, the crews had deployed 325 new miles and prepared the first 13 community anchor institutions for connection. Broadband service to these community anchor institutions across southern and central Pennsylvania will increase to speeds of 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps.

KINBER’s ultimate goal is to increase educational development in the 39 counties the network spans. Oftentimes, small public universities, especially in rural areas, are left behind because they do not have the necessary broadband capabilities or capacity. Access to this new high-speed network will allow these educational institutions to expand distance learning programs and work collaboratively with other research facilities. Additionally, KINBER plans to offer Internet services at affordable prices. KINBER expects that this affordable broadband network will supplement efforts to spur business growth in these small, rural communities.

Last updated: January 5, 2012

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