National Grant Expands A&M-Commerce NetworkBy: Ashley Johnson, PR Director, 903-468-8171
Commerce, TEXAS (Nov. 21, 2011)—Texas A&M University-Commerce announced Monday that students, faculty and staff will now enjoy high-speed broadband access thanks to a $6.6 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant awarded to The Texas A&M University System.
This award, along with $3 million in matching contributions, will allow the A&M System to provide high-speed broadband access to all 11 A&M System universities, the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and communities served by the A&M System.
Prior to receiving the grant funding, the university’s high-speed Internet was limited to about 120 Megabits of usable bandwidth, and was also shared with A&M-Commerce residence halls. According to Anwar Karim, vice president and chief information officer for A&M-Commerce, the new setup provides administrative and academic networks with a dedicated 125Mbs of Internet bandwidth separate from the residence halls that can be increased as the university’s needs increase. Not only will this benefit the flow of information across campus, Karim said, it will greatly improve students’ ability to experience smoother and faster delivery of Internet applications and media.
In the near future, A&M-Commerce also hopes to extend the higher speed network to the university’s remote campuses in Mesquite, Dallas, Midlothian, and Corsicana.
According to Karim, the year-long journey toward infrastructure improvement began a year ago, and would not be possible without the help of TAMU Telecommunciations, TTVN Wide Area Network, A&M-Commerce IT, and Peoples Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
“This initiative once again demonstrates Texas A&M University and the A&M System’s desire to be a leader in collaborative networking,” said Dr. Pierce Cantrell, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.
Funding also is provided for next generation Internet-based radio gateways that allow campus police departments to communicate with local DPS radio systems over the broadband network. DPS will be making its public safety databases (including wants and warrants) over a shared link, eliminating the need for costly satellite-based communication links.
According to Cantrell, “This grant was only made possible through a public and private partnership that embraces the spirit of the BTOP grants.”
The required 30 percent grant match was shared by all of the partners that will benefit from the grant.
About the BTOP grant: The grant is funded entirely by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA), and is dedicated to funding comprehensive broadband infrastructure projects, public computer centers, and sustainable broadband adoption projects. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act provided a total of $7.2 billion for the NTIA and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to expand access to and adoption of broadband services in communities across the U.S.
In Texas, The Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) will bring state-of-the-art communications capacities to underserved schools and other community-serving institutions. The project predicts that the network will serve 114,000 students and 27,000 faculty and staff, as well as connect the university police departments to the State of Texas Department of Public Safety to enhance security and safety within these communities and help enable the Next Generation 911 network.
About Texas A&M University-Commerce: About Texas A&M University-Commerce: Founded in 1889, Texas A&M University-Commerce is a member of The Texas A&M University System. Located in Northeast Texas, A&M-Commerce is home to more than 11,000 students, four academic colleges, a thriving graduate school, and more than 100 degree programs. As the region’s focal point of higher education, A&M-Commerce offers students facilities ranging from a world-class science building and new student center, to a fully equipped recreational facility and recently completed music hall. The university also has convenient facilities in Corsicana, Midlothian, Mesquite, and downtown Dallas.
About The Texas A&M University System: The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center.
A&M System members educate more than 120,000 students and reach another 22 million people through service each year. With more than 28,000 faculty and staff, the A&M System has a physical presence in 250 of the state’s 254 counties and a programmatic presence in every one. In 2010, externally funded research expenditures exceeded $772 million to help drive the state’s economy.