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May Revision Restores CENIC Funding

May 27, 2021

CENIC California Research and Education NetworkWhile a proposed funding increase for the California Community Colleges (CCC) outlined in the state's May budget revision holds plenty of good news for the system and its 2.1 million students, the full impact to projects managed under the CCC Technology Center is still being analyzed.

What is known at this time is that $8 million that was called out for CENIC in the January budget proposal has made it into the revised budget announced on May 14. This investment will directly benefit the Tech Center's effort to upgrade network circuits to high-speed fiber at community college sites throughout the state.

The CENIC effort had been forced to scale back last year. However, the proposed budget will restore funding to 2019-20 levels, enabling work to resume on the previous schedule.

The upgrade project includes the installation of 152 10Gbps and 1GBps fiber circuits, said Michael Tuccillo, CENIC Connectivity Project Manager with the Tech Center. Under the plan, each college site will receive two 10Gbps circuits — one being the primary circuit and the other providing a "hot backup." And each satellite center will be upgraded to 1Gbps circuits with the same primary and backup as described for the colleges.

A combined total of 192 routers will be implemented during the next three years with one router as the primary and the second router as the hot backup. The hot backups help mitigate circuit related failures working to provide reduced Internet downtimes.

Addressing Bandwidth Needs for Higher Ed

CENIC operates the California Research and Education Network (CalREN), a high-bandwidth, high-capacity network consisting of 3,800 miles of CENIC-owned and managed fiber. Charter members include the California Community Colleges, University of California, California State University, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, University of Southern California, K-12, and the California Public Libraries.

Supported by the CCC Chancellor's Office, the Tech Center began work in FY 2016-17 to address increased bandwidth demand at community colleges by installing backup circuits and upgrading primary circuits. Today, all colleges have backup circuits, and of the 327 circuits that connect college campuses, 276 have been upgraded. A circuit is considered installed and in production once the district starts using it with "live" school data.