Governor Announces "Broadband Ohio" Initiative

Creates Ohio Broadband Council to Coordinate Network Efforts

COLUMBUS, Ohio — July 27, 2007 —Governor Ted Strickland today issued an executive order announcing the Broadband Ohio initiative to extend the reach of Ohio’s broadband resources, further Ohio’s leadership in network innovation and improve technology access for all citizens throughout the state.

“Ohio’s economic future relies on our ability to compete in a high-speed, high-tech global marketplace,” Strickland said. “The Ohio Broadband Council will partner with the public and private sectors to help make sure that every Ohioan has viable access to affordable, high-speed Internet service, regardless of where they live, work or learn.”

The Broadband Ohio executive order pairs higher education’s OSCnet (formerly the Third Frontier Network) with the Next Generation Network (NextGen Network), a new state and local government network being developed by acquiring available bandwidth from OSCnet.

The order also creates the Ohio Broadband Council to serve as the coordinating body for Broadband Ohio and to provide oversight of the initiative from a policy, procedure, process and development standpoint. The Ohio Broadband Council will be co-chaired by Ohio’s chief information officer and the executive director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

The NextGen Network has been created to consolidate and improve broadband service delivery to state and local government, underserved populations, county and city network rings, economic development, public safety, courts and public/private initiatives. Ohio’s Office of Information Technology will manage the NextGen Network.

The Ohio Supercomputer Center will continue to manage OSCnet, providing connectivity and computing resources to K-12 education, colleges and universities, hospitals, public broadcasting stations and local, state and federal research centers. Neither OSCnet nor NextGen Network will provide retail broadband connectivity, but, rather, improve the business case for telecommunications firms to further expand their services to unserved and underserved regions of the state.

“The Ohio Supercomputer Center has pioneered the development of OSCnet – the nation’s leading statewide fiber-optic communications network,” said Stanley C. Ahalt, executive director of the center. “The technical design of OSCnet allows for the addition of the NextGen Network and sufficient capacity to serve all the future bandwidth needs of all of its current clients. The resulting integrated statewide network infrastructure will be unmatched in service to the state and considered a model for the rest of the nation.”

OSCnet, launched in November 2004, focuses on innovation, research, education and economic competitiveness, according to Ahalt. The Ohio Supercomputer Center staff and OSCnet clients will continue to develop and deploy new technology that focuses on the retention, enhancement and attraction of high-quality jobs to Ohio.

A renewed focus on service to industry and job creation has resulted in OSC initiatives such as Blue Collar Computing and the Ralph Regula School of Computational Science. Blue Collar Computing is a nationally recognized endeavor to supply high-performance computing to small- and medium-sized industries that do not have the time, capital or expertise to invest in supercomputing resources. The Ralph Regula School is a collaborative project of the center and several colleges and universities to instruct students in advanced computer modeling and simulation, which industries use to solve complex business, technical and academic research problems.

Leveraging the 1,850 miles of optical fiber OSCnet infrastructure, the dual network backbone is powered by optical switches that provide almost limitless bandwidth over a single pair of fibers. Improved service and significant cost avoidance will quickly be realized as the state transitions from current more-expensive leasing arrangements.

Additional information about the Ohio Broadband Council and Broadband Ohio can be found on the web at http://www.ohiobroadbandcouncil.org or by calling 1-888-672-6382.

OSCnet Technical Notes: OSCnet, launched in November 2004 as the Third Frontier Network, is a statewide, superscale, fiber-optic telecommunications network. Using different frequencies of light (lambdas), the 1,850-mile OSCnet backbone can support 32 independent optical networks up to OC-192 (Sonet) transport to 10-gigabit Ethernet speeds. OSCnet utilizes the IP network protocol, but also can implement other protocols, such as SANS and native HDTV. The network uses Dense Wave Division Multiplexing with ITU Grid frequencies, as well as ITU G.709 transport protocol specification. At its launch, OSCnet was the largest implementation of Cisco 15454 transponder service in the world.

Ohio Supercomputer Center: Celebrating 20 years of service, the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries that provides a reliable high performance computing and high performance networking infrastructure for a diverse statewide/regional community including education, academic research, industry, and state government. Funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, OSC promotes and stimulates computational research and education in order to act as a key enabler for the state's aspirations in advanced technology, information systems, and advanced industries. For additional information, visit http://www.osc.edu.