AUSTIN, Texas—A high-speed educational Internet communications system has been made available to all public and private K-12 schools and higher education institutions in Texas through a cooperative project by The University of Texas at Austin, Texas AandM University and several other universities in Texas.
The Internet2 Sponsored Education Group Participant Program will begin serving schools in Texas as early as this week and other school are expected to begin using the system as the summer progresses.
The University of Texas at Austin, Texas AandM University, The University of Texas at San Antonio, and The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio have agreed to jointly provide initial funding and configuration to make the Internet2 Abilene network available to these institutions.
The Abilene network is a high-speed, high-reliability network that connects Internet2 members. Internet2 is a consortium being led by 202 universities nationwide working in partnership with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies.
Authorization for the Internet2 Sponsored Education Group Participant Program was provided by an agreement signed April 23 between The University of Texas at Austin and the University Corporation for the Advancement of Internet Development.
The University of Texas at Austin, the Texas GigaPop in Houston, the North Texas GigaPop in Dallas, Texas Tech and The University of Texas at El Paso will configure the connections for eligible Texas K-20 sites.
The Abilene network supports high-speed communications needed for applications such as remote videoconference access to educational partners all over the world. It also can be used for virtual tours of sites such as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C., and access to planetariums, labs and aquariums with remote control of the instrumentation and high-quality streamed educational material such as the JASON Project that puts students in direct contact with researchers in a virtual fashion.
In addition to The University of Texas at Austin and Texas AandM University, other Texas Internet2 members include the University of Houston, The University of Texas at El Paso, Rice University, Texas Tech University, The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Texas at Arlington, Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University, University of North Texas, Stephen F. Austin State University, Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and other affiliate members.
“The University of Texas at Austin is happy to be a part of bringing the availability of Internet2 to Texas education,” said Daniel A. Updegrove, vice president for information technology at The University of Texas at Austin.
Richard E. Ewing, vice president for research at Texas AandM University, said, “Learning is no longer dependent on geographic location. Students truly have the world at their fingertips.”
The College Station Independent School District has been using the Abilene network in the United States and its sister CUDI network in Mexico to allow students at a magnet school in Mexico City to do joint projects with students in Texas.
Heather Bruning, who works for the University Corporation for the Advancement of Internet Development, is manager of the Abilene Sponsored Educational Group Participant Program.
Until now, the Internet2 project and the Abilene network have been limited to large Texas research institutions because of financial costs. The new agreement makes access to the network possible under a process where the existing members agree to sponsor all education entities in the state.
Note to editors: This is a joint press release by Texas AandM University and The University of Texas at Austin.
For more information contact: Wayne Wedemeyer, Office of Telecommunications Services, 512-471-2454, or Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-471-3151.