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AT&T Building Super Highspeed Fiber Optic Network

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 17 Aug 2011 04:50pm | comments
Governor Haley Barbour and Felix Okojie.

Four major state universities and other research institutions aroundMississippi will soon be connected by a super high speed fiber optic network. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that state officials claim the network will improve Mississippi's ability to turn research into reality.

Officials from the state and AT&T announced the launch of the Mississippi Research Network, a new super high speed Internet network connecting major universities and research institutions around Mississippi.

AT&T Mississippi president Mayo Flynt says the fiber optic network will boost broadband capacity 20-times.

"This is going to allow the researchers in Mississippi to move massive amounts of information from one university to the other. Or to share information between Stennis and one of the universities. Instead of waiting a day or days to move that information it may take hours. It may take a few minutes depending on what the size of the file is," Flint said.

The network will link Mississippi State, Jackson State, the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi as well as the University of Mississippi Medical Center, NASA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and more.

Felix Okojie, the chairman of the Mississippi Research Consortium, says the increased speed will help the Mississippi's scientists compete with surrounding states.

"We will be seeing a tremendous increase in the biomedical research field. We will be enhancing our capacities in the area of ecological research, in the area of oceanographic research and high performance computing," Okojie said.

The state will pay AT&T 2-million dollars a year for the next eight years to build and manage the network, but Governor Haley Barbour says the value of the network will far outweigh the cost.

"The four research universities receive 380-million dollars for projects that require this huge level of capacity to move data," Barbour said.

Barbour believes the network will help speed up the research at the facilities, and turn Mississippi ideas into real world products.

The network should be fully operational by the end of the year.

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Governor Haley Barbour and Felix Okojie.


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