In 1997, the Commission on Higher Education convened a Technology Task Force as called for in Looking to the New Millennium: New Jersey’s Plan for Higher Education.
The task force was integral in developing the state’s $50 million Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund, which set aside $5 million for interconnectivity. A total of $45 million was committed to enhance individual campus infrastructure and required a dollar-for-dollar match. The $5 million set aside also required an institutional match and was targeted to support the creation of a single broadband network utility to support the collaborative efforts of colleges and universities in the state. The task force completed its work after five months, but established a Technology Advisory Committee to assist the Commission and Presidents’ Council in developing a statewide network and governance structure. In 2000, a network governance structure was established with the Presidents’ Council Executive Board serving as the board of directors of this not-for-profit corporation.
From the outset, the undertaking was predicated on the assumption that broadband connectivity is a utility that is critical to carry out the core missions of the higher education community in New Jersey. It was further recognized that there are true economies-of-scale to be realized by investing cooperatively in this utility.
At the start of 2003, NJEDge.Net had built a state-of-the-art network through a partnership with Verizon. A governance and organizational structure was established, and operational procedures were implemented. Today there are 53 educational institutions participating in NJEDge.Net, and together they account for a combined total of over one gigabit of Internet and 300 megabits of Internet2 bandwidth traveling over a managed IP infrastructure that covers the entire state.
We have provided these institutions with a statewide regional optical backbone, Broadband Internet Services (1500+Mb), comprehensive Voice Services, sophisticated video conferencing and distance learning capabilities, streaming video resources and video-on-demand, regional access to Internet2, interoperability with the K-12 Video Portal (Access New Jersey) and shared access to a Satellite Uplink/Downlink facility.