Partnerships Between Research and Education Networks and the Private Sector
To serve its many constituents, CENIC works with hundreds of private sector organizations — many of which are located in California — to operate production and leading-edge research and education networks. As a result, CENIC contributes tens of millions of dollars every year to the California economy, creating jobs and economic development across the state. These private sector organizations share beliefs in basic values such as equity, innovation, and collaboration, and welcome the opportunity to contribute to California’s education and research sectors. Recently, leaders in four of these private-sector organizations were asked to talk about their partnership with CENIC and their aspirations for the future.
“Our goal is to equalize opportunity despite geography,” says Chris Roy, vice president of government and education solutions (West) for AT&T. “That goal perfectly aligns with the goals of CENIC and its member institutions. We work toward that goal every day. Our 37,000 employees spent 900,000 hours giving back to communities last year, and education is one of our key priorities. We have initiatives to improve the graduation rate of high school students and programs to help them develop career skills. Last year, our employees directly mentored more than 17,000 California students. Due in part to the efforts of CENIC and its members, we have seen a 250,000% increase in education traffic over the last several years. Education powers California, and we are proud to work with CENIC to support educators and students throughout the state.”
David Nelson is president and CEO of VAST Networks, a company that owns 2,700 miles of fiber in the Central Valley of California. “With our focus on serving rural areas, we have collaborated with CENIC to bring high-speed broadband to anchor institutions throughout the Central Valley. In fact, VAST grew out of a partnership with CENIC when it was provided with a list of anchor institutions that needed connectivity. As a result of this collaboration, we now have 1,335 K-12 schools in our region with bandwidth greater than 1 Gbps on our network. This has changed educational opportunity in one of the most underserved areas of our state.”
Arturo Iglesias, chief technology officer at Transtelco, observes that, “Today's youth have grown up with technology playing a big role in their daily lives. They are exceedingly comfortable with digital technologies and virtual reality. We find that if we provide a platform, students use it to interact and to learn. We serve 50 educational institutions and 700,000 students in Mexico, Southern California, and Texas, and leaders in these institutions recognize that technology enables the kind of education they want to provide. Networks are enablers and foster collaboration among institutions that are connected. Like CENIC and its members, we ask ourselves ‘How can we use the network to energize parties to communicate and collaborate?’”
David Nelson agrees. “The current generation of students knows and demands technology. Many students have more than one connected device. They self-educate at an incredible rate and are looking for constant access to high-speed broadband.”
David Young, vice president of sales for the federal market group at Level 3, affirms the necessity of collaboration pointed out by his colleagues. “We need to come together on the private side to help the public side. By bringing together providers and working with organizations like CENIC, we can assure everyone in our state has access to high-speed broadband. CENIC has a better view than any one provider, and we should work with them and with others until the goal of equal access is fulfilled.”