Alaska State Education Network Connects to Internet2’s Next-Generation Network
Connection Enables K20 Students Across the State to Participate in Leading-Edge Internet-Based Educational Opportunities
ANN ARBOR, Mich. and FAIRBANKS, Alaska – March 23, 2006 – Children across the state of Alaska will soon have access to one of the fastest networks in the world.
Representatives from Internet2 and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) today announced that Alaska’s statewide education network, AK20, will become the 35th state education network to connect directly to Internet2’s nationwide high performance network. Leveraging this connection, AK20 will participate in the Internet2 K20 Initiative which will give Alaska’s students access to cutting-edge, Internet-based educational opportunities not available today on the commercial Internet.
The announcement was made during a special ceremony held at UAF’s Internet2 Day. Participants included, Douglas Van Houweling, Internet2’s president and CEO; Louis Fox, Internet2’s director of the K20 Initiative; Steve Smith, UAF’s CIO; and Scott Christian, executive director of the Alaska Distance Education Consortium.
“Internet2 has worked diligently in partnership with University of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest Gigapop to bring these leading-edge Internet capabilities to the Alaskan K20 community,” said Dr. Louis Fox, director, Internet2 K20 Initiative and vice provost, University of Washington. “Through this program, not only will thousands of Alaskan students and teachers be able to take part in the latest networking technology to collaborate and learn in new ways but in turn, they will help enrich their peers in the broader education community by sharing the rich traditions, diverse cultures and institutions that make up this unique region."
Through this connection, made possible through the Pacific Northwest Gigapop, teachers and students across Alaska will be able to participate in programs like Megaconference Jr., a project that uses advanced videoconferencing technology to bring together thousands of students in elementary and secondary schools from around the world for an all-day learning conference. Students can also receive live undersea exploration demonstrations from remote locations with famed oceanographer Bob Ballard, take master music classes from world-renowned instructors or use remote-controlled instruments to dissect a biology specimen from 1,000 miles away.
“UAF has a long tradition of providing our campus with the most advanced resources available and has served as the state’s hub for cutting-edge technology development,” said Steve Smith, UAF’s chief information officer. “By sponsoring the state’s K20 Initiative, we are extending next-generation capabilities to a community which would not otherwise have access to these valuable educational resources.”
AK20 connects hundreds of Alaska schools, libraries, community colleges and museums. Schools within urban areas such as Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau will connect via a fiber-optic network, while outlying rural areas will use satellite and digital microwave connections. While not all schools have sufficient bandwidth to take full advantage of Internet2’s network capabilities, AK20 is working with Alaska’s carriers to provide the highest bandwidth possible to these schools.
Led by more than 200 U.S. universities, working with industry and government, Internet2 develops and deploys advanced network applications and technologies for research and higher education, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet. Internet2 recreates the partnerships among academia, industry, and government that helped foster today's Internet in its infancy. For more information about Internet2, visit: http://www.internet2.edu/.
About the Internet2 Sponsored Educational Group Participant (SEGP) Program
The SEGP program is intended to allow expanded access to the Internet2 Abilene network for state and regional education networks, through sponsorship by Internet2 university members. State and regional networks may include nonprofit and for-profit K20 educational institutions, museums, libraries, art galleries, or hospitals that require routine collaboration on instructional, clinical and/or research projects, services and content with Internet2 members or with other sponsored participants. The program began in early 2001 and has since connected 35 state K20 networks.
About the University of Alaska Fairbanks
UAF is a Land, Sea and Space Grant institution with an enrollment of more than 9,000 students. Located 160 miles south of the Arctic Circle, UAF is the only doctoral degree granting institution in the state. Since it was founded in 1917, UAF has been internationally recognized for research relating to the Arctic and sub-arctic, in areas such as biology, geophysics, engineering, natural resources and global climate change. http://www.uaf.edu/
About Pacific Northwest Gigapop
The Pacific Northwest Gigapop (PNW Gigapop) is a not-for-profit serving leading edge organizations and Research and Education networks throughout the Pacific Rim. PNW Gigapop provides robust, highest-speed access to current state of the art Internet; Next Generation Internet services and technology; and the exclusive R&D testbeds where tomorrow’s Internet technologies are being developed. The PNW Gigapop is built to be the highest caliber Research and Education networking services hub in the world. http://www.pnw-gigapop.net/