Providing Greater Service and Support to an Expanding Membership
April 25, 2017 (Lawrence, Kansas)– KanREN held its Annual Membership Meeting on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the KanREN offices at the Bioscience & Technology Business Center in Lawrence, KS. The annual event facilitated by KanREN Board Chair, Cory Falldine, CIO of Emporia State University, provides members an update on the State of the Consortium, an opportunity to celebrate organizational accomplishments, and seeks member input on the strategic direction of the organization.
KanREN Executive Director, Cort Buffington, took the opportunity to highlight KanREN’s 25th Anniversary with the official launch of KanREN’s Prairie Line Express (PLE)—a commitment to bring affordable gigabit Internet options to K-12 and community anchor institutions throughout Kansas.
Buffington shared, “PLE is about a focus on teaching and learning, and having the connectivity available to do that. We love that it is going to provide higher bandwidth at a lower cost, but our real goal is helping prepare learners for tomorrow by giving schools the connectivity resources they need.”
The effort around PLE began in January by forging partnerships with last-mile providers for connecting members to the KanREN backbone. The resulting commitments led to KanREN partnering with AT&T and others for last-mile delivery to an initial group of 169 Kansas communities. This first-of-its-kind undertaking helps bridge the gap by bringing gigabit connectivity to institutions in the national target price range of around $3/Mbps per month recommended by a number of national education technology organizations.
“It has become increasingly clear that securing robust connectivity and access to information is essential for our schools to prepare our students as our next generation’s workforce,” says KanREN Board Chair, Falldine. “KanREN’s approach with PLE gives us the opportunity to improve schools’ bandwidth while providing a more cost effective model for our school districts. It gives our communities the ability to invest in the future and be cost conservative at the same time. I am excited to be part of an initiative that I genuinely believe is at the heart of the common good of our Kansas communities.”
KanREN’s Board and Committees have also been focused on providing extremely cost-effective, high quality security services and adding value for KanREN members. Several highlights include:
- KanREN negotiated incorporating comprehensive DDos mitigation and cloud scrubbing into KanREN Internet service for 2017-2018 for all members.
- KanREN members can now participate at no cost in the Internet2 Net+ Non-member purchasing program which provides cost savings on certain products.
- KanREN members should watch for new security service offerings coming in 2017-18. KanREN’s technical team is evolving more comprehensive options for our members!
Buffington also provided organizational updates related to staffing, communication, membership development, and progress on goals related to the consortium’s Strategic Plan.