Kimley-Horn and Associates will provide the engineering design and environmental assessments for the expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network.

MCNC announced the Raleigh-based firm as the winner of the $6.5 million contract on Thursday.

NCREN will be expanded across North Carolina with $106 million in funding from federal grants, private sector partners, a $24 million grant from the Golden LEAF economic development group, and MCNC’s own resources.

MCNC already has awarded contracts for the first phase of the NCREN expansion.

The contract is the first one awarded for the project which MCNC calls the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative.

Kimley-Horn will help design and study the environmental impact of the 1,200 mile project.

"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,” said Tommy Jacobson, vice president of network infrastructure initiatives for MCNC. “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."

The first phase of NCREN expansion will cost $40 million with $28.2 million coming from federal grants.

For more information about the NCREN projects,

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