Editor’s note: In preparation for Thursday’s RTP180 event in the Park, MCNC President and CEO Jean Davis talks about the technology nonprofit’s commitment to making North Carolina the most connected state in the country. MCNC is the technology non-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network, or NCREN. She will be speaking on Thursday at RTP180 between 5 and 7:30 p.m. at The Frontier in Research Triangle Park.)

 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – There are three things RTP is known for: innovation, education, and technology. MCNC has been a cornerstone of support in each of these areas throughout its 30-year history and has evolved into a valuable technology resource not just in RTP but for the entire state.

MCNC operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network, better known as NCREN, which is one of our state’s greatest technology assets. This high-speed, broadband network is really where the magic happens.

MCNC graphic

NCREN network

All across North Carolina, students, teachers, medical professionals, researchers, public safety authorities, librarians, and our citizens are reaching their full potential by having access to the Internet, collaborative technologies, and rich content.

Innovating for the innovators

MCNC is steered by innovation, economic development, relationships, and thought leadership. We exist to benefit North Carolina communities by creating opportunities for citizens to accelerate their broadband-based economies.

Research, education, health care, public safety, libraries … MCNC connects more than 750 community anchor institutions like these every day that allow our citizens to harness innovation in every inch of the state.

High-speed Internet is a basic requirement of being a productive citizen in the 21st century, and it is one of the most important investments we can make for North Carolina’s economic future.

Foundation for education

MCNC gives our great minds of today the ability to do amazing things tomorrow.

With a world-class 3,700-mile fiber network and the know-how to operate it, MCNC provides critical connectivity and important networking services to all 115 K-12 public school districts, more than 130 charters, a growing number of private schools, all 58 community colleges, and more than 50 universities – including the 17 campuses of the UNC System. Each are increasingly integrating broadband-dependent technologies into curriculum and administration as reliable high-speed access continues to rise for students, faculty, and staff both on and off campus.

We are proud to serve these pillars in North Carolina communities just as we have done for more than three decades.

World-class technology for all

NCREN is one of the nation’s first statewide education and research networks. We like to describe our fiber as the communications interstate highway system for North Carolina and our goal for the future is to partner with others to build the “local roads” that penetrate deeper into rural communities. And, some exciting growth has already happened in 2018 for the MCNC community!

With the support of the Golden LEAF Foundation this year, MCNC connected an additional 22 community anchor institutions to NCREN via owned fiber in the Greensboro / Hamlet corridor. Also, in 2018, through a partnership with Duke University, we constructed more than 100 miles of new fiber in the Triangle area. This new Fiber Ring lays the foundation for continued high-level support of K-20 education and health care in this particular region as well as the entire state.

The FCC reported this year that 80 percent of the 24 million American households that do not have reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet access are located in rural areas. Rural Americans cannot reach their full productivity in the workplace, receive the best education, nor benefit from the highest quality of health care without it. North Carolina’s rural homes, businesses, farms, schools, and health care facilities deserve high-speed broadband they can depend on to operate effectively, collaborate efficiently, and thrive in a connected environment.

While we know the rural connectivity conundrum is not something easily solved, MCNC is sparking those conversations and bringing together creative minds and diverse leaders to ensure rural areas of North Carolina are not left behind.

See you Thursday

I’m looking forward to sharing more about MCNC’s past and future and to hear from other RTP “Homegrown” success stories @ RTP180 on Thursday night at The Frontier.

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