Island University Celebrates 10-Times Faster Internet

December 12, 2014

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Island University now has a 10-times faster Internet connection through an enhanced fiber optic cable network, a project completed with the Texas A&M University System, the City of Corpus Christi and local telephone company, Valley Telephone.

Leaders of each institution celebrated the project’s completion with a news conference at Friday, Dec. 12, at the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

“We are proud to bring a super highway of information to the Island University for students, faculty and researchers,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President and CEO. “Now we are 10-times faster --- the fastest internet in south Texas. This capacity puts the campus technologically on par with some of the largest universities in the U.S.  We now have the highest bandwidth connection --- more than 10 times that of any campus in the A&M System other than College Station.”

The enhanced network, an increase from 1 gigabit to 10 gigabits, will meet the university’s needs now and in the future as it increases research endeavors, including those that will require increased computing power.

“The A&M University System is honored to connect communities and schools, and sees this as one of our primary goals,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “Education is increasingly more and more online, making reliable, fast connection paramount to success for students and vital to researchers as well. Projects like this truly showcase the good we can do when we combine our forces and create strong partnerships.”

In addition to the faster system, this project provides a more reliable network by adding in a second connection to keep data flowing even if one goes down, said Terry Tatum, Associate Vice President for Information Technology at A&M-Corpus Christi.

The enhanced network will support classes using high definition video conferencing, allow for easier access through smart phones and wireless tablets and provide for research projects that need to move terabytes of data from campus to supercomputing centers. 

Among the researchers who will benefit from this increased computing speed is Dr. Chuntao Liu, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science. His research and analysis of global precipitation patterns requires movement of very large data sets from one computer to another.

“Being able to do that quickly and with ease allows me to review large amounts of satellite data that measure weather patterns across the world,” he said. “That is key to understanding how weather and climate interact with each other.”

The Island University worked with the Texas A&M University System to acquire federal funding from the Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

 “None of this would have been possible without the partnership from the A&M University System and the City of Corpus Christi,” Killebrew said. “We were lucky to be able to tap into an already strong, existing fiber optic network in use by the city, greatly expanding the impact and benefits of this project.”