All 58 North Carolina community colleges are connected to the North Carolina Research and Education Network, officials said Monday.

NCREN will provide the colleges with lower costs for commercial Internet access, access to advanced research networks like Internet2 and National Lambda Rail, priority access to popular Web sites like Google and high-speed connectivity to all state education institutions so virtual education resources can be shared seamlessly.

Scott Ralls, president of the North Carolina Community College System, said that enrollments statewide have grown by 25 percent in three years, so the colleges need different ways to deliver courses.

“Connecting all North Carolina community colleges to NCREN provides our students with an infrastructure that can grow to meet their virtual education needs at stable costs for the coming generations of students,” Ralls said in a statement.

All 17 University of North Carolina campuses, 24 of 36 independent colleges in the state, almost a quarter of all charter schools statewide and all 115 public school districts also are connected to NCREN.

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