About The Gazette Search Back Issues Contact Us    
The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University December 8, 2003 | Vol. 33 No. 14
Group Brings High-Speed Data Service to Baltimore, StateHeadline

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. last week announced an exclusive Internet link that will provide high-capacity data transmission service for educational and research institutions in the Baltimore metropolitan area that connects to all major statewide networks. The Baltimore Education and Research Network, known as BERnet, was created by a consortium of Maryland universities, libraries and government and will enable connected institutions to share and transfer large amounts of research data, images and files across the country.

"By providing a connection to the high-capacity Internet 2, BERnet will extend resources in education, research and human services to all areas of the state," Ehrlich said. "It will provide access to graduate-level research and education to teachers and workers; provide access to citizens via public libraries; expand medical, social, legal and specialized technologies to rural areas; and reduce the need to travel."

The consortium includes the University System of Maryland; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; Enoch Pratt Free Library and Maryland Public Libraries' Sailor Network; Mid-Atlantic Crossroads, known as MAX; City of Baltimore; and State of Maryland Department of Budget and Management.

Currently, the 13 USM institutions, several community colleges, the Maryland State Department of Education, the City of Baltimore, the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the schools and public library systems connected to the Sailor Network have access to BERnet.

Johns Hopkins, Morgan State and others will be connected by January 2004.

State technology coordinator Christopher Foster, who works to advance technology development within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, said, "BERnet connects several Maryland networks that have been built over the years and allows Maryland to be one of the first states in the nation to establish a 'network of networks' to increase speed, efficiency and dependability of data transmission service."

BERnet builds on the early efforts of the University of Maryland, College Park, which established one of the first regional networks in the country, making it possible for mid-Atlantic universities to connect to the first generation Internet that has since grown into the Maryland- District of Columbia-Virginia consortium that created the MAX, which is the regional connector to Internet 2.

BERnet uses the state of Maryland's fiber-optic cables along I-95 between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., to connect the consortium through the MAX in College Park, Md., to the national high-capacity data transmission services known as Internet 2. Created by educational and research institutions, Internet 2 provides 3,500 times the capacity of a typical home broadband connection. Research and educational institutions have found that the commercial Internet is slowed by too many users and does not adequately support their high bandwidth applications.

Consortium members access BERnet through the state office building at 6 St. Paul St. in Baltimore.

BERnet's fiber-optic cables are part of, a data transmission system built, operated and managed by the Maryland State Department of Budget and Management to meet the state's future data transmission needs. Sailor, Enoch Pratt Free Library, has been instrumental in spearheading the early efforts to interconnect Baltimore City's academic institutions and libraries to this valuable resource.

"The state of Maryland has taken a leadership role in supporting economic development of the scientific industry," said John A. Sabatini, acting secretary of higher education. "This project shows the value of in anticipating industry needs and will be a boon to Maryland's higher education system and infrastructure."

William R. Brody, president of Johns Hopkins, said, "BERnet has made it possible to connect every level of public and private education in Maryland to affordable next-generation network access and has created an environment that will make it easier to attract businesses to the Baltimore metropolitan area."

Carla Hayden, executive director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, said, "Through this partnership of organizations, Marylanders will have equitable high-speed access to the unique resources available on Internet 2."

The $200,000 startup cost of the network will be split by consortium members; the annual cost per institution will be approximately $5,000. If the consortium were to purchase this level of service from a provider, annual charges could exceed $1.5 million a year. Other colleges, schools and research institutions in the Baltimore area will be eligible to join and help defray the costs.


The Gazette | The Johns Hopkins University | Suite 540 | 901 S. Bond St. | Baltimore, MD 21231 | 443-287-9900 |