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DC-Net Wins NATOA Community Network of the Year

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
NATOA’s award recognizes extraordinary efforts to bring the benefits of technology to American communities. In its awards announcement, NATOA honored DC-Net as a model municipal network.
DC-Net shakes hands with members of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA)

The District’s pioneering fiber-optic network, DC-Net, has won the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) 2010 Community Broadband Fiber Network of the Year.

DC-Net is a citywide municipal network providing voice, data, video, and wireless services for all District governmental and public safety purposes. The most extensive city fiber network in the U.S., DC-Net serves over 33,000 users at 347 District government sites including over 35 recreation centers, over 20 libraries, and over 120 schools. DC-Net supports the District’s 911 call center and its police, fire, emergency medical and emergency management services. It also provides backhaul for the over 250 free wireless hotspots in the District’s Free Wi-Fi network, which provides convenient, free public Internet access throughout the city.

NATOA’s Community Broadband Awards recognize extraordinary efforts to bring the benefits of technology to American communities. In its awards announcement, NATOA honored DC-Net as a model municipal network for its reach in the community and service to public schools, libraries, community centers, and other anchor institutions.

"DC-Net is proud to receive this award as an acknowledgement of our hard work and dedication to serving the citizens of the District of Columbia,” said Tegene Baharu, DC-Net Director. “We will continue our focus on providing the District with a state-of-the-art citywide network to serve all of our constituents."

The awards panel also cited DC-Net’s recent success in winning a $17.4 MM American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant for a dramatic expansion of the network to bridge the digital divide. DC-Net’s ARRA grant will help the District build the DC Community Access Network (DC-CAN). DC-CAN will upgrade and augment DC-Net’s existing 329-mile fiber network by 50% to create a 500-mile high-speed middle-mile broadband network.

“Bridging the digital divide is one of OCTO’s foremost goals,” said Bryan Sivak, Chief Technology Officer for the District of Columbia. “Thanks to our investment in DC-Net and the federal government’s support, we’ll be able to make great strides toward this goal with DC-CAN. I’m honored that NATOA has recognized our efforts with this important award.”

The DC-CAN network will create points of interconnection for last-mile service providers to help them deliver affordable broadband access to residents and businesses. DC-CAN will also provide direct fiber Internet connections for 300 community anchor institutions, mainly in economically distressed areas, such as schools, health clinics, libraries, public housing sites, and police and fire/emergency services locations. These anchor institutions will be able to use the network to deliver next-generation broadband applications in health, public safety, and education to underserved populations and throughout the city. DC-CAN will provide anchor institutions and last-mile providers speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

“NATOA’s Community Broadband Awards proudly honor the people, communities, and organizations that lead the nation in improving government and public options in broadband technology,” said Ken Fellman, president of the NATOA Board of Directors. “The award recipients were chosen based on their extraordinary efforts, achievements, and innovation in community-based approaches to broadband. We applaud their efforts to ensure that more American communities and citizens benefit from new technology.”

Winners of all the NATOA Community Broadband Awards were announced at the 2010 Annual NATOA Conference on September 29-October 1, 2010 in Washington, DC.