Mark Johnson, chief technology officer at MCNC and an architect of the steadily growing North Carolina Research and Education Network, is taking on a new, broader national role in networking.

Johnson will serve as the executive director of the U.S. United Community Anchor Network, or UCAN. The project is a program from the international Internet2 organization to provide advanced Internet connectivity and services to 200,000 so-called “community anchor institutions” across the country.

These sites include public libraries, schools, community colleges, health care facilities and public safety operations.

UCAN is receiving $62 million in federal funding for the project.

Johnson is taking the UCAN position on an interim basis, according to Internet2. He has some 25 years in networking experience. His new role will involve strategic business planning, community outreach.

“Mark’s success in building advanced networking communities in North Carolina made him the logical choice to lead our initial efforts in building the coordinating body necessary to support community anchor institutions nationwide,” said Internet2 Chief Executive Officer David Lambert. We are grateful to our regional partner, MCNC, for enabling Mark to take on this important opportunity for 2011 for which our entire community will benefit.”

MCNC is expanding NCREN in two phases with the help of Golden LEAF, private sector partners and federal funding.

MCNC is also a long-time partner with Internet2, an advanced networking consortium based in Michigan.

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