In February 2010, KINBER was awarded a $99.6 million grant by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to design, build and manage a 1,600-mile broadband network connecting community anchor institutions and reach unserved or underserved counties. In 2013 the construction of the Pennsylvania Research and Education Network, or PennREN, was completed.
In early 2014, seven additional nodes were added to the original PennREN footprint to reach into even more rural areas of Pennsylvania.
In 2015 KINBER experienced record growth, with 25 new sites connecting to PennREN and 27 more choosing to upgrade their service. Geisinger Health System became the first healthcare organization connected to PennREN. The number of sites connecting at 10Gbps grew from five to thirteen, including the University of Pittsburgh which was the first university in Pennsylvania to provide 10Gbps connectivity to all campuses. Also in 2015, KINBER received a $150,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to strengthen regional campus cyberinfrastructure in Pennsylvania. KINBER’s Community Services program continued to expand new “above-net” service offerings and trainings to all community anchor institutions.
Network access points are now in 47 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties with connections in more than 130 locations over the 1,800-mile network. In September 2017 KINBER announced that its backbone infrastructure was upgraded to support 100Gbps across the backbone. In October 2017 KINBER connected its first 100G member connection at Penn State University.
KINBER continues to reach to more rural areas across the commonwealth through partnering with regional network providers and exploring creative last mile solutions such as wireless and TV Whitespace. KINBER is committed to bringing friction-free broadband network connectivity to community anchor institutions across the Commonwealth including rural and hard to reach areas. KINBER will continue to work to find cost-effective last-mile solutions that enable community anchor institutions to get the broadband access they need in Pennsylvania.