Fiber optic network will be put to work by the state - - Jackson, MS

Fiber optic network will be put to work by the state

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Researchers in the Magnolia State will soon get a tool which puts Mississippi in the forefront of technology when it comes to communication.

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

The upgrade comes thanks to an infrastructure already in place by AT&T. Mississippi company president, Mayo Flynt, said the network will increase broadband capacity by 20 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 Corp of Engineers and the Stennis Space Center.

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

Governor Haley Barbour added, "It simply gives us much more capacity to communicate."

Barbour says the network will transform research capabilities across the state and put Mississippi in a better place to compete.

If the state opted to create it's own system, Barbour said 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 Mississippi'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 said economic development could benefit as well with the creation of new companies and jobs.

The governor added, "it's a win, win deal for the private sector and the state education system."

The network is set to be completed by the end of the year.

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