State gets new information highway - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

State gets new information highway

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Named MissiON, it's the state's newest informational highway, a network of fiber optics designed to enhance how data is shared among the state's research universities and facilities.

"This is not your average service upgrade," said Mississippi AT&T President Mayo Flynt.

The upgrade comes thanks to infrastructure already in place by AT&T. Flynt says the network will increase broadband capacity by twenty times it's current use, putting research and information on the fast track.

"Twenty billion bits of information per second to each location on the network," said Flynt.

The network will link up the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, The University of Southern Mississippi, Jackson State University, The University of Mississippi Medical Center, the State Department of Information and Technology, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Stennis Space Center.

"Instead of waiting a day or days to move that information, it might take hours, it might take a few minutes," said Mayo.

"It simply gives us much more capacity to communicate," said Governor Haley Barbour. Barbour says the network will transform research capabilities across the state and put Mississippi in a better place to compete.

Had the state opted to create its own system, Barbour says the price tag would have been about $70 million. By using the existing system, that price is about $16 million. The project is funded through the state's existing contract with AT&T which will expire in eight years. From there, Barbour says it will have to be renegotiated.

By sharing massive amounts of data with unprecedented speed, Barbour says economic development could benefit as well with the creation of new companies and jobs.

"It's a win, win deal for the private sector and the state education system," said Barbour.

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