Columbia, MO Memorial Union

MOREnet Files Joint Application for Broadband Funding

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On March 26, MOREnet filed a joint application with Norlight Telecommunications, Inc. for Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) Comprehensive Community Infrastructure (CCI) round two funds. The application seeks an $87,648,894 grant to build and operate a 2,749 mile fiber-optic network that will directly connect more than 700 anchor institutions throughout Missouri. This grant application could help MOREnet reduce network connectivity costs that impact annual member fees.

The proposed Missouri Community Anchor Network (MOCAN) project will connect 29 community college sites and 51 other higher education institution sites, 249 school districts, 109 libraries and 115 healthcare sites, as well as other public safety and state facilities. When this network is completed, the fiber infrastructure will be uniquely positioned to provide future low-cost fiber connectivity to more than 2,500 anchor institution sites in 59 Missouri counties.

Norlight is investing more than $20 million in matching funds for the grant and will construct, maintain and operate the fiber infrastructure. Norlight will also provide connectivity for anchor institutions, enterprise and other commercial customers, as well as support service providers for residential access.

MOREnet is very excited about the partnership with Norlight and the opportunity to connect more than 700 anchor institutions to the fiber backbone. At our request, nearly 80 MOREnet members sent letters of support for the project, which were included in the grant application. We are very appreciative of our members’ level of response to this grant opportunity.

Round two funds available for the CCI category total $2.35 billion. The CCI approach focuses on the deployment of middle-mile broadband facilities and new or substantially upgraded connections to anchor institutions. Awards are expected to be announced beginning in July and must be made by Sept. 30, 2010.

Should you have any questions about this announcement, please contact your program manager.