Empowering Higher Education with Fiber Internet

GVEC has long been associated with community enrichment. Whether we’re sponsoring local events, taking part in societal betterment projects or awarding Power Up™ grants to area nonprofit groups, we’re dedicated to investing in our communities both socially and economically.

Our community involvement has also long included providing and supporting educational initiatives.  Thinking of this may bring to mind electrical safety and efficiency presentations for grade schools or civic organizations, youth summer involvement programs, support of youth agricultural events and scholarships awarded to local high school students. But recently, GVEC had the opportunity to take part in educational enhancement at the higher learning level—specifically at Texas Lutheran University (TLU).

Let’s Learn a Bit About ‘LEARN’

LEARN is the Lonestar Education and Research Network. It’s an association of educational and research institutions across Texas with approximately 300 affiliated organizations participating. These network participants are made up of high-performance optical and IP network services, all connected through fiber-optic infrastructure. It operates as an extremely secure private network that encourages intra-institutional collaboration and research/data sharing. LEARN is also part of national research networks, giving Texas institutions access to national and international research and education networks.

In September 2021, LEARN received its second National Science Foundation (NSF) grant as a lead organization, allowing it to expand its regional network connectivity program further into the Texas higher education community.

GVEC Steps In and Steps Up

GVEC Network Engineering Manager Albert Villarreal has a fairly significant history of working with LEARN. He met with associates from the organization to discuss possible entities in the GVEC service area to bring into the program. He also found how GVEC could help construct needed infrastructure that could easily tie into our existing network to support the needed speed and bandwidth for LEARN institutions.

Villareal helped identify TLU as one of three colleges and universities LEARN ultimately chose to bring into its exclusive network with the NSF grant, the other two schools being Texarkana College and Trinity Valley Community College. The grant funded improvements or initial construction for advanced cyberinfrastructure needed for the institutions to take part in the LEARN project.

With TLU sitting almost next door to the GVEC’s Seguin Customer Service Center, GVEC began construction to provide the network to network interface (NNI) needed between TLU and LEARN’s servers in February. Construction was completed in May.

Strengthening Area Education and Network

GVEC is proud to play a part in helping LEARN partner with TLU to foster the delivery of advanced network services and technology. Not only was LEARN bringing TLU into their network through their NSF  grant a benefit to the university, but it was also a benefit to GVEC and its members. This was a great opportunity to extend the Cooperative’s fiber infrastructure at no cost to GVEC. It’s also a tremendous affirmation that we’ve built a robust network, well able support transport projects of this nature, and suggests sure potential for continued strengthening of our Fiber network which is a great asset to our members and GVEC Internet subscribers alike.

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