Broadband grants include $63M for 100-gigabit research network

U.S. UCAN has connected 66,000 anchor institutions so far, according to Internet2 officials. The new round of federal broadband grants could grow the network to 100,000 institutions.

Doug Van Houweling, Internet2 president and CEO, said the government’s focus on expanding web access “provides an unprecedented opportunity to carry out two of our defining missions: to pioneer advanced research and education networking capabilities, and to pass on those capabilities to the public where they can introduce new possibilities into everyday life.”

Residents of western Massachusetts will have greater access to high-speed internet connections after the federal government allocated $45.4 million – along with $26.2 million from the Massachusetts Technology Cooperative – to construct more than 1,300 miles of new fiber in that region.

The government estimated that more than 1 million people in western Massachusetts could benefit from this grant, along with 44,000 businesses.

High-speed internet has become commonplace on U.S. college campuses of every size, while students and faculty members who live in small towns around campus sometimes have spotty or nonexistent broadband connections, making the basics of modern-day distance learning impossible.

Aron Goldman, an adjunct faculty member of the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus, said during a March interview with eCampus News that academics and students in nearby Shutesbury, Mass.—a 10-minute drive from the university—are relegated to dial-up connections that make it difficult to complete the most basic online exercises, such as sending eMail messages with large attachments.

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