The Future

What’s next for Kansas

Reliable, efficient, resilient, and uninterrupted dedicated fiber is the next major step for KANREN. Nearly 90% of states in the USA have a predominantly dedicated fiber education backbone. Although Kansas was one of the first states to create an R&E network, it now lags behind as one of the few without dedicated fiber statewide. Dedicated fiber is about much more than bandwidth. Dedicated fiber is a necessary asset to ensure the continued competitiveness of our higher education system; ultimately driving economic prosperity for the state.

Join us as we connect Kansas into the future.

February 2019  | Sources: The Quilt, Internet2, Direct Interview, Organization Publication

Predominant Infrastructure

Owned Fiber

Leased/IRU Fiber

Quasi-Owned/Leased Fiber

Lit Services

Unknown/Multiple Solutions

R&E Business Model



State Government

Looking Forward

The path to success for Kansas


Reliability has long been a problem with lit services. Providers of lit services frequently perform maintenance, disrupting normal operations for hours at a time. But public universities operate 24/7, and a dedicated fiber network can operate years without service interruption. KANREN currently operates a hybrid backbone, built partially on dedicated fiber and partially on lit services. In the long-term, lit services are not as reliable, budget stable, or scalable. Dedicated fiber is a smart investment for financial, operational, and technical efficiency, and build the capacity to extend collaboration with neighboring states; creating a truly regional infrastructure.


New services continue to be added to technology in our fast-paced world. Currently, budget stability can be impacted when those new services are provisioned under our current hybrid model. Costly and inefficient, lit services are regulated as “telecommunications” services by the FCC and are subject to ever-increasing and volatile Federal Universal Service Fund (FUSF) assessments, which have grown more than 8% in the last 5 years to over 28% as of fall 2020. These fees are passed on to the “end user” from the telecommunications carriers and represent an ongoing cost increase that cannot be predicted or mitigated.

Lit services designs last only about five years. It currently takes 2–3 years to re-architect, negotiate, and implement each lit service backbone design which is a resource intensive task, considering the short time frame it is effective.


In 2018, Kansas State University’s Hale Library caught fire. KANREN was able to provision an additional 40Gbps of connectivity for KSU’s remote data center operations at no additional fee and provision the service in a matter of hours after requested.

If KSU had not been on an existing dedicated fiber segment of the KANREN backbone, a traditional lit service based solution would have taken 30+ days to quote and contract; and an additional 90–120 days to build and implement, which would have led to a staggering cost increase for KSU on a multi-year term, and months of service degradation.


Dedicated fiber is highly preferable to lit services. When fiber leases are paid up-front, total cost of ownership is significantly lower than lit services they replace, while providing greater utility. KANREN and Kansas public universities believe that a dedicated fiber network is the best long-term solution. In addition to the positive results for our larger public higher education institutions; there would be a positive collateral effect for other KANREN members, including community colleges, K–12 schools, public libraries, healthcare, local and county governments and other public service organizations; thus extending the value of the asset to the greater good of the state. Investing in dedicated fiber will promote economic development opportunities and may even impact public-private partnerships to solve unique rural broadband availability challenges.

Dedicated Fiber Optical

A vision for the future of Kansas higher education

There is no greater time than now to invest in the future of Kansas. A dedicated fiber backbone network — maintainable into the future — is the first step to expanding the “cyber” infrastructure for decades to come.

KanREN Existing and Proposed Fiber Paths

Note: All paths are approximate

Fiber Path to Lease

Fiber Path Already Leased

Interstate Fiber to Regional Partners

Add / Drop Site

Multi-Degree Amplification Site