September 6, 2013 – The North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) network has been awarded the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) 2013 Community Broadband Project of the Year. The honor is awarded annually to innovative projects that “champion local interests and needs in broadband and technology.”
“On behalf of the 6 municipalities and 4 universities involved in this effort, we are honored by this recognition from NATOA,” said Bill Stice, Vice-Chair of the NCNGN Steering Committee and Technology Services Director for the Town of Cary. “Our communities have a long tradition of collaborating across jurisdictional boundaries to serve the greater good, and I believe that cooperative spirit will help us address obstacles that we may face as our process continues and we try to improve the broadband services available to our citizens.”
The North Carolina Next Generation Network is a regional initiative focused on stimulating the deployment of next generation networks in North Carolina. The coordinated effort includes the municipalities of Cary, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem and their university partners Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University/Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
In selecting NCNGN, NATOA recognized the project for “demonstrating how community/university collaborations can enable exploration of new models for public- partnerships in broadband.”
“The research institutions involved in this effort often work with their home communities to promote the welfare of local citizens. Likewise, the universities routinely collaborate with one another on ground-breaking research initiatives,” said John Boehme, Secretary of the NCNGN Steering Committee and Associate Vice President, Academic and Administrative Systems, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “NCNGN is the rare project that does both.”
“The local business community has been supportive of the NCNGN project from the start,” said Harvey Schmitt, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. “This cross-regional collaborative effort is truly unique, and our local businesses are excited to lend their support to the effort so that our state can continue to attract the tech- savvy workers needed to compete in the global economy,” Schmitt said.
NCNGN, through the Triangle J Council of Governments, issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) on Feb. 1, 2013, inviting one or more private companies to build and operate next generation networks in their communities. Eight responses were received by the April 1 deadline. The NCNGN members are involved in ongoing due diligence and discussions with the respondents.
“We are proud of what we’ve accomplished to date, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Elise Kohn, NCNGN Program Director. “Our discussions with the vendors who responded to the RFP are ongoing, but we hope that our process will result in consumers throughout our regions accessing next generation broadband connections faster than they otherwise would.”