KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – With the N.C. Research Campus serving as a backdrop, executives from MCNC kicked off the second stage of construction for the statewide expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network on Friday.

The $140 million-plus project, which will add some 1,200 miles of fiber capacity to the NCREN backbone, is set to be completed in 2013.

Much of the funding is coming from the federal government, but MCNC is also contributing funds from its financial resources and the N.C. economic development group Golden LEAF has committed $24 million to the second phase.

MCNC also hosted groundbreaking ceremonies at three other locations through a high definition simulcast.

“MCNC is excited to begin the second phase of building North Carolina’s highway to the future. We want to thank our state and federal leaders for their continued support for the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative,” said Joe Freddoso, president and CEO of MCNC, in a statement. “Today, we can link several sites via HD video for a one-time event. The expansion, when complete, will allow us to host hundreds of these sessions simultaneously across the state. It will impact all facilities and institutions connected to NCREN. It will broaden the way teachers teach, students learn, doctors provide care, and for citizens at a local library searching to find a job.”

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