The Northern Tier Network Consortium has selected Infinera's PIC to light its fiber. Who is the NTNC you ask? Well so did I, but apparently it is a newly forming research network. The idea it seems is to fill in the gap between Internet2, which takes the central route from Chicago to Seattle, and the non-profit CANARIE CAnet-4 network which runs east-west in Canada. Here is their planned network map:
The northern route has always intrigued me. The next generation buildouts of the late 90s almost all chose the southern and central routes across the USA, leaving an empty space through the Dakotas that always felt so barren. Understandable of course, given the relative populations, but still when looking at fiber maps the urge to fill the coverage gap is always there. Qwest has assets in the region of course, so I suspect the fiber is coming from them although I don't actually know. NTNC will be using Infinera PICs to the tune of 100Gbps chunks and I'm not sure the combined bandwidth of all other carriers through that region is any bigger than that. I suppose it doesn't matter, the universities and non-profits supporting this network need to do their research on the large chunks of bandwidth that everyone else is concerned with.
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