Penn State director to lead KINBER in building statewide network

University Park, Pa. — Jeff Reel, director in ITS Telecommunications and Networking Services at Penn State, has recently been selected as executive director of the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER). Reel will lead the KINBER coalition in the implementation of the Pennsylvania Research and Education Network (PennREN), a statewide broadband network designed to support educational, research, health, and economic development partners across the commonwealth. KINBER, a nonprofit corporation, was recently awarded $99 million in federal stimulus funding to build the network over the next three years.

PennREN is expected to encompass every region of the commonwealth, extending through 39 Pennsylvania counties, 22 of which currently are unserved or under-served based on access to affordable broadband services. The network has the potential to provide services to more than 5 million individuals across 2 million households and 200,000 businesses. Penn State played a pivotal role in conceiving and planning PennREN and will continue to be instrumental in its development in the coming months.

Reel's mission with KINBER will be to work with coalition partners that make up Pennsylvania’s higher education and health care entities to provide high-bandwidth connectivity to its members and distribute research and education-oriented network services throughout Pennsylvania. Other slated applications include expanded health care infrastructure and communication capabilities (through the exchange of video, MRIs and other images); access to medical expertise via global medical institutions; provision of disaster-recovery and public safety services to state and local governments; and use of connectivity/regional partnering to further community economic development.

While at Penn State, Reel oversaw the development and management of the University-wide Integrated Backbone network that supports instruction, research and video, voice and data communication needs at Penn State. He also led major iniatives over the years to upgrade the inter-campus bandwidth network (a part of the Integrated Backbone that provides connectivity between Penn State's multiple campus locations). Most of the University's commonwealth-wide campuses will have presence on the PennREN network, which is expected to provide advanced capabilities and cost savings for these and other Pennsylvania campuses for years to come.

“While I’m sorry I won’t be around to personally see some plans implemented that were initiated during my time at Penn State,” Reel said, “KINBER dovetails with the longer-range plans that have been initiated at Penn State, such as providing service and improved performance to the inter-campus network.”

Reel will begin his position with KINBER on July 1. Since Penn State is a charter member of KINBER, he will continue to work closely with colleagues at the University through advisory committees and working groups.

Additional charter members of KINBER are: Bucknell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, the Commission for Community Colleges, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Hospital and Health Systems Association of Pennsylvania.

Last Updated July 01, 2010