East Carolina University’s campus in Greenville will serve as the hub of the expanding North Carolina Research and Education Network.

MCNC, which operates NCREN, recently upgraded a backbone connection to the university to 10 gigabyte capacity. MCNC is based in RTP.

The ECU upgrade is part of the $144 million NCREN expansion plan that is spreading high-speed Internet access across much of the state. A grant from the Golden LEAF economic development grant, federal funds, MCNC’s own resources and support from private sector partners is fueling the growth.

ECU will serve as the hub of NCREN east of I-95.

The university said the upgrade also means the school can support online and distance learning as well as videoconferencing.

“Many rural areas in Eastern North Carolina have been left behind in the race to build out critical broadband infrastructure,” said Tommy Jacobson, vice president of Network Initiatives for MCNC and project lead on the initiative, in a statement. “The new upgrade will provide nearly unlimited capacity for this region through the ECU campus node.”

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