CLARIFICATION: ConnectArlington to Make Big Network Link with Univers

Published on May 14, 2016

5/23 Note: Clarifying ConnectArlington relationships with MAX and MARIA.


  • Partnership will bring advanced cyber-infrastructure services to County

  • County will see lower operating costs, gain direct data services and resources

The Arlington County Board today approved the licensing of its ConnectArlington "dark fiber" to enable high-speed access to the University of Maryland's Mid-Atlantic Crossroads, a multi-state optical transport network known as "MAX."

It's a major connection for ConnectArlington, County government's  fiber-optic network that increases government efficiency and promotes economic development. Construction of ConnectArlington's first 10 miles of dark fiber available to groups outside Arlington County government was just completed in April.

MAX is the Maryland area "on-ramp" to the "Internet2" collaborative research network of universities, industries and government agencies. ConnectArlington is also connected to the Virginia Tech Research Center on Glebe Road, which is part of the Mid-Atlantic Research Infrastructure Alliance (MARIA) providing the on-ramp to Internet2 for Virginia. These relationships enable research institutions and groups using ConnectArlington fiber infrastructure to connect directly to regional, national and international high performance research networks.

"This exciting partnership with the University of Maryland will help us find new ways to use technology and data to better inform our decisions and transform the way we do business as a government," Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. "These new capabilities also will help the County attract and retain those organizations that are engaged with MAX and those that want to be."

The Board voted unanimously to approve the agreements. Read the staff report on this item. All staff reports are posted on the County website; scroll down to Item No. 27 on the agenda for the May 14, 2016 Regular County Board Meeting.

MAX intends to use the new information artery to boost and consolidate its already established data services to participants, which include higher education institutions, research laboratories and federal agencies. As part of the federal government's network security efforts, MAX currently has a Trusted Internet Connection ("TIC") on-net and currently offers TIC transport services.

Leveraging assets and services of both organizations

"We are extremely pleased that Arlington County is partnering with MAX to make such a positive impact on the region's digital future," said Tripti Sinha, Executive Director of MAX and AVP/CTO of the University of Maryland's Division of Information Technology. "Now more than ever, MAX is well-positioned to spur innovation and support businesses with our one-of-a-kind cyberinfrastructure services in a County that is very supportive of the R&E community.  MAX is proud to join forces with such a strong technological ally."

The partnership between ConnectArlington and MAX will leverage the mutual assets and services of both organizations. Arlington's dark fiber lines enhance the capabilities of each network, making the process of transmitting data much more streamlined and less expensive. Under the arrangement, both parties will benefit from more than 40 telecommunications links with the capacity to operate at up to 300 gigabits each — a rate translated as 1,000 times faster than the speed enjoyed through residential Internet service.

A separate agreement approved by the Board will place MAX equipment inside the County's Network Operations Center. In return, the County will gain access to MAX advanced resources and services.

About ConnectArlington

The ConnectArlington network grew from an initial plan to link all County facilities and those of Arlington Public Schools through high-speed broadband. Designs for the infrastructure were expanded to create a dark fiber network that could serve the region's innovative high-tech and business communities.

Dark fiber can move digital information from familiar, slower networks such as the World Wide Web to fast, closed networks such as those used by government. Having its own dark fiber network lowers operating costs for the County and allows it to benefit from licensing fees.

The University of Maryland is expected to formally approve the agreements shortly.