North Idaho College expands broadband access for Idaho Panhandle!

The Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON) and North Idaho College (NIC) announce a partnership to expand the region’s broadband access and collaboration within the state, across the nation, and globally.

Coeur d’Alene, ID, October 18, 2012 – North Idaho College (NIC) increases its broadband communications infrastructure for enhanced education and research opportunities to serve NIC’s campus, the city of Coeur d’Alene, and the Coeur d’Alene campuses of the University of Idaho and LewisClark State College. Access to IRON’s ultra high-speed, fiber optic network will expand NIC’s effectiveness in creating opportunities for the school’s students, faculty, administrators, and research staff, and will also enhance Idaho’s collective ability to advance science, research, education, health care, and economic development across the entire State.

“North Idaho College very much appreciates the service from the Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON). The ability to interconnect with Idaho Education Network secondary schools to provide more seamless dual enrollment classes over video conferencing will benefit students. IRON has worked closely on a full partnership basis and helped foster inter-institution collaboration in Coeur d’Alene for North Idaho College, the University of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College,” said NIC Chief Information Officer, Steve Ruppel.

Chartered in late 2007, “IRON” ( is a cooperative effort between five universities located in the Northwest region of the United States, the State of Idaho, the Idaho Hospital Association, and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), to establish a high-performance Regional Optical Network (RON) within the State of Idaho. IRON is owned, operated and managed by its Charter Associates. Today, only three years after its inception, IRON provides low-cost, high-speed bandwidth to more than 175,000 students, teachers, researchers, and health care professionals across the state of Idaho.

Organizations eligible to participate in the Idaho Regional Optical Network, Inc. (IRON), a not-for-profit Idaho corporation, include those engaged in research, public and private education, health care, and economic development; as well as libraries, museums, and local, state, and federal government agencies. IRON, like 40 similar organizations operating in other states across the country, provides access and connectivity, at speeds of up to 10 billion characters per second, to both of the nation’s advanced research and education broadband networks, Internet2 (, and the National Lambda Rail (

Learn more here!

IRON Awarded J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation Grant

Boise, ID, May 21, 2012 ‐ The Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON) today announced that the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has awarded IRON a $3,055,694 grant over the next five years to support distance learning activities and enhanced broadband access for colleges, universities and education research sites throughout Idaho.

IRON’s statewide broadband network is currently accessible to the state’s colleges, universities, research facilities, and libraries and to the Idaho Education Network at access points located in Boise, Idaho Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, and St Anthony. The grant will be used to expand and accelerate deployment of IRON’s broadband transmission system and distance learning infrastructure, and to extend access to the network into Pocatello, Twin Falls and surrounding communities.

“This grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation will allow us to push our services out into Idaho’s rural communities much sooner than we anticipated,” says Victor Braud, IRON general manager.  “By adding Pocatello and Twin Falls to IRON’s network this year, these communities will begin to realize IRON’s benefits more quickly and they will find it easier and substantially less expensive to connect.  The grant will also allow IRON to add a higher level of reliability to the network for all of our Associates.”

Learn more here!

Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) and Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) are teaming with Idaho National Laboratory and the other Charter Associates of the Idaho Regional Optical Network to build an “IRONclad” bridge across Idaho’s digital divide.

Idaho National Laboratory (INL), with the full support of Battelle Energy Alliance, recently installed one of the world’s fastest super-computers in their state-of-the-art, high performance computing center at the Idaho National Laboratory’s advanced energy research facility in Idaho Falls. INL is making that facility accessible to Higher Ed Researchers throughout Idaho and the Northwest through the Idaho Computing Consortium. The backbone of the lab’s computing collaborations is the Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON). Its high-speed connections allow researchers at the Lab and the region’s Research Universities to quickly access needed computational resources located in other areas throughout the state, the region, and the nation.

BMI continues to provide financial support of IRON providing an economical safety net through a nointerest line of credit loan, BMI is helping to ensure IRON’s long-term sustainability, and that IRON’s longterm objective of providing very low cost, very high speed bandwidth to Idaho’s Research, Higher Education, Health Care, and government institutions is fully realized. This level of financial support has made possible expansion of the network throughout the state and the region to provide ultra-high-speed, broadband access to, and from, additional research sites.

Brent Stacey, INL’s chief information officer, is one of the chief architects behind IRON. He envisions BEA’s support with in-kind resources, INL’s active participation in the management and operation of IRON, and BMI’s financial investments as ways to enhance economic opportunities and technological advances across the state. “Our ability to provide access to high-performance computing, specialized facilities and high-quality bandwidth is good for the state, students, researchers, institutions, and employers like INL.”

INL (, a Charter Associate and one of the principle users of IRON’s state-of-the-art fiber optic network, was instrumental in providing guidance and direction to the state of Idaho through programs such as IRON.

Battelle Memorial Institute ( is a 501(c) (3) charitable trust headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Our 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide are dedicated to scientific, educational, technology and community endeavors and investments for a safer, healthier, and more productive tomorrow. We’re committed to using science and technology as a positive force for change, delivering innovations that enhance people’s lives while helping solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. Through contract R&D, managing the world’s leading national laboratories, and giving back to communities, Battelle seeks to create greater value for its customers, the nation, and the world. IRON ( is a nonprofit organization that was chartered in 2007 to advance science, research, education, health care and state and local government in Idaho through access to very highspeed, cost-effective bandwidth.

Learn more here!

INL cultivates resources for collaboration and business success

By Misty Benjamin, INL Communications & Governmental Affairs

Idaho National Laboratory is supporting research and development by crossing the digital divide in order to expand opportunities in Idaho. INL’s expansion of high performance computing, data computation and visualization centers allows the lab to act as a hub for collaborations between industry and university partners.

The backbone of the lab’s computing collaborations is the Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON). Its high-speed connections facilitate researchers at the university to quickly access needed computational resources located in other areas throughout the state.

Brent Stacey, INL’s chief information officer, is one of the architects behind IRON. He envisions the investment as a way to enhance opportunities across the state.

“Our ability to provide access to high-performance computing, specialized facilities and high-quality bandwidth is good for the state, students and employers like INL.”

INL was instrumental in providing guidance and direction to the state of Idaho through programs such as IRON. This nonprofit organization is chartered to advance science, research, education, health care and state government through access to very high-speed and cost-effective bandwidth. Victor Braud, IRON’s general manager, is pleased with how the investment in IRON is bringing geographically-dispersed resources closer together.

“IRON’s mission is being fulfilled, and that’s exciting,” Braud said. “Geographically, we live in a large state and traversing the digital divide is important to the state’s economic growth and prosperity.”

INL’s strategic management of technology and information has positioned the lab for the development of capabilities such as: high performance computing capabilities, INL’s participation in IRON, and the development and implementation of tools that ensure the right information reaches the right people at the right time.

The change marks a strategic transformation of the outlook on technology and information management. Five years ago, INL identified that strategic management of technology and information at the lab could significantly enhance the mission success of the world-class nuclear laboratory.

INL has shifted the focus from immersion in the day-to-day operations supporting information technology to addressing the long-term information and business process needs of INL. Stacey and his Information Management (IM) team enabled this transition by defining new IM roles, engaging INL strategic planning in support of technology transformation and management of information specifically directed at moving the lab’s mission forward.

“It’s been said that technology is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the past 50 years,” Stacey said. “Taking on changes of that magnitude will require an infrastructure that is robust, and a team that is in tune with the dynamics of the business.”

Gartner, renowned as the world’s leader in information technology research and advisory services, has published a case study detailing how INL manages information to achieve its mission. This case study recognizes INL’s adoption of practices with a forward-looking perspective toward business needs for information management and technology adoption. This is only the third time in the past decade that Gartner has performed a case study involving a national laboratory.

Realizing that IM must be an integrated business partner, Stacey was instrumental in changing every facet of the way that information management and technology decisions happen at INL. Stacey supports the laboratory’s information and technology needs and also strategically engages all areas of the laboratory to ensure that every activity within his organization is directly aligned with the overall mission of the laboratory. The effort ensures that IM engages senior management as a strategic partner in solving INL’s most challenging issues as well as providing ongoing excellence in operational support.

Stacey believes the chief information officer with any business must be an effective innovator and must be an integral part of a corporate strategy’s birth, planning, implementation and continued refinement. The High Performance Workplace initiative at INL is an example of this strategy in action. The initiative, supported by INL senior management, will transform INL’s workplace through the alignment of technology and information management with business requirements and future needs.

Learn more here!

ISU Joins Optic Network

By Jake Taylor

POCATELLO, Idaho – A fiber optic upgrade coming to Idaho State University could have researchers working much closer with other institutions across the state.

ISU has announced a partnership with the Idaho Regional Optic Network, or IRON.

The new network provides an ultra-fast broadband connection for research institutions across the state.

“It expands our internet bandwidth for research. It more than doubles it, at a very affordable price. And it strengthens our connections with, not only other higher ed institutions in the state, but with the Idaho Education Network,” ISU Chief Information Officer Randy Gaines said.

According to IRON general manager Victor Braud, along with bringing university researchers a whole lot more speed, the new network should save ISU a nice chunk of change.

“IRON essentially provides access and bandwidth to the nations and the regions research and education networks at prices that are about 15 percent of what they’d pay a retail provider,” Braud said.

Braud said having collaboration like this available makes a very big difference to high-tech businesses looking for new locations.

“IRON, along with the Idaho Education Network, are providing the very, very high speed broadband communications that are necessary to provide research and other technology oriented companies to Idaho,” Braud said.

Learn more here!