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ITS Instrumental in Community Fiber Collaborations


Over the past year, ITS has deepened community collaborations with local government, schools and other public entities to collectively enhance network connectivity. Jim Gogan, Assistant Vice Chancellor of ITS Communication Technologies, and ITS Engineering Manager Craig Baker have been instrumental in efforts to unite Orange County public agencies to jointly improve high-speed connections.

The formation of OPEN serves as a next step toward enabling the organizations to form memorandums of understanding. Through these MOUs, individual entities can work with one another to extend and connect their fiber networks.

UNC-Chapel Hill; Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools; the Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and Orange County municipalities; and the Orange Water and Sewer Authority formed the Orange Public & Education Network in February. UNC Health Care joined the organization in July. The group meets on a regular basis to review connectivity plans and to see who can help with what tasks.

Paving the way by example for OPEN, ITS had already entered into two of these MOUs with the towns to improve connectivity economically. Those collaborations with Chapel Hill and Carrboro enabled ITS to get to remote sites without spending a lot of money or having to go to commercial services.

In another collaborative opportunity, the University and other public entities within the region are discussing how they can bring connectivity at a reasonable price to the Orange County Skills Development/JobLink Center on Franklin Street. The center is a community resource for training, job searches and career development.

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“The opportunity to collaborate and partner with UNC-Chapel Hill ITS on fiber-optic network infrastructure expansion and interconnectivity has been a strategic turning point for Carrboro. At the heart, or maybe I should say the brain, of this collaboration are Jim Gogan and Craig Baker. Jim and Craig have been the ‘dot connectors’ for the town of Carrboro and have fostered an ongoing egoless and flexible process to reach mutual goals.”

-Andy Vogel, Information Technology Director

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“Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) connected to the internet via UNC-Chapel Hill ITS in 2005 at no cost, essentially upgrading our internet connection from 3 MB to 1 GB and allowing us to redirect our resources towards a growing, web-centric instructional program for over 12,000 K-12 students. By traveling across UNC-Chapel Hill’s fiber, CHCCS has been able to construct a primary data center for our core network infrastructure, while also providing space for an educational wing for UNC-Chapel Hill students.”

-Doug Noell, Director of IT Operations

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