Internet2 has appointed its long-running partner Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT) to help them build its nationwide 8.8 Tbps network, which will support over 200,000 community anchor institutions, including K-12 schools, libraries, community colleges, health centers, hospitals and public safety organizations.
Construction of the new network, which is partially funded by a $62.5 million federal stimulus grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), will begin immediately with the first coast-to-coast segments expected to be in service by mid-summer.
Through the agreement with Level 3, Internet2 will acquire the right to use fiber strands on Level 3's fiber-optic network as well as their network management support to enable its new national 8.8 Terabit Optical System and 100 Gigabit Ethernet Network. Initially using over 10,000 miles of fiber on Level 3's national footprint, Internet2 will be able to add more miles over the next three years as demand dictates.
While Level 3 will install Internet2's 8.8 Terabit network optical equipment and provide related 24/7 network monitoring and field support, Internet2 will maintain ownership of optical equipment with the right of use on the fiber infrastructure and will also direct provisioning and capacity planning. Internet2 said the arrangement with Level 3 will enable it to not only obtain its R&E and anchor institution service level commitments, but also leverage Level 3's network construction experience and its field support and optical management team.
Rob Vietzke, Internet2 executive director of Network Services, said that adding Level 3's field expertise to the list of services that go with the fiber, "this agreement is a natural evolution of our relationship," adding that it "allows our members to leverage existing network investments to realize dramatically enhanced capabilities today, as well as position all of the communities we serve with the ability to significantly grow and take advantage of new opportunities well into the future."
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