COMMERCE - Quality service, innovation and collaboration were the themes behind the application and recent approval of a $6.6 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant to the Texas A&M University System.
Texas A&M University-Commerce and the surrounding community will be the first of all 11 A&M System universities to benefit from the grant. Officials with A&M-Commerce, the A&M System, Paris Junior College, Northeast Texas Community College, and Peoples Telephone were on hand as part of a press conference Monday afternoon at the A&M-Commerce Alumni Center.
University President Dan Jones called the increase in usable bandwidth an “institution-changing event” and that partnering with the A&M System on the grant further exemplifies that there “truly is power in numbers.”
Jones stated, “The A&M System is able to synergize, to catalyze, to bring us together, to bring different components together, to bring different strengths together, and to create the kinds of partnerships that make projects like this successful.”
Jones referenced innovation, one of three guiding principals at A&M-Commerce, as a major component of this new service. And said this will substantially increase available content to students.
“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is give them the tools that will equip them to leverage the content, leverage their focus on innovation, that really activate the imagination and see far into the future. Because that’s where we’re all headed,” Jones said.
Associate Director of Telecommunications at Texas A&M University Walt Magnussen, with the help of all system chief information officers, wrote and applied for the competitive grant.
He said the high-speed broadband access will first be enjoyed by students, faculty and staff at A&M-Commerce and later gateway thru the A&M System.
Prior to receiving the grant funding, the university’s high-speed internet was limited to about 120 Megabits of usable bandwidth, and was also shared with A&M-Commerce residence halls.
According to Anwar Karim, vice president and chief information officer for A&M-Commerce, the new setup provides administrative and academic networks with a dedicated 125Mbs of internet bandwidth separate from the residence halls that can be increased as the university’s needs increase.
Above, listen to Monday’s press conference. Audio provided by Dr. Rod Zent, executive director of Texas A&M University’s Educational Broadcast Services.