Connected Community

More than a decade of legwork by UC Santa Cruz information technology specialists garnered a $10.6 million state grant to boost the fiberoptic highway for Internet connections south of Santa Cruz.

Those funds will help place 91 miles of data- carrying cable, from Santa Cruz to Soledad, to create a “backbone circuit” to back up lines if existing ones fail. The circuit will also offer more Internet provider access options for communities along the way.

“Education and research demand this kind of Internet capacity,” said Brad Smith, the UCSC director of research and faculty partnerships in Information Technology Services.

Smith and his colleagues scouted for efficient ways to add fiberoptic lines to existing structures or upcoming construction projects. once a route was identified, they teamed up with Sunesys, a telecommunication company that previously installed lines from the campus to Sunnyvale, and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California.

“The synergy of this project is nice,” said Smith. “We were able to use UCSC expertise to solve a university problem and benefit the community.”

The project is estimated to take two years and $13.3 million dollars to complete, Smith said.