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20-year agreement secures I-Light future

Indiana's research & education network inks dark fiber deal with Zayo Group

The I-Light network — Indiana's high performance, optical fiber research and education (R&E) telecommunications network — announced it has entered into a long-term agreement with the Zayo Group, a global provider of fiber-based bandwidth infrastructure, to provide fiber for the I-Light network backbone.

I-Light connects to the nation's most advanced R&E networks, such as Internet2 and National LambdaRail. Under the 20-year indefeasible right of use (IRU) agreement, I-Light receives access to Zayo’s advanced and fully upgradeable dark fiber. This will enable I-Light to continue providing Indiana with broadband connectivity, as well as new and enhanced services.

Typically long-term agreements, IRUs are key components of building or expanding infrastructure. The original 2006 contract with Zayo was slated to continue until 2016 and included a right to renew for an additional 10 years. By renewing before the 2016 deadline, IU will save an estimated $2 million. The new agreement expires in 2033.

"Renewing the Zayo contract really secures the future of I-Light for the long term," said Marianne Chitwood, director of I-Light. "By paying for the IRUs now, we lock in the fiber and maintenance costs, ultimately reducing our overall operating costs."

Over the next 20 years, as the needs of Indiana colleges and universities grow, the IRUs will ensure that I-Light is better positioned to accommodate them. "Today, we have a 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) backbone, but we could easily upgrade that to 100 Gbps just by swapping out electronics on the backbone," said Chitwood.