The Oregon Fiber Partnership has purchased more than 1,500 miles of optical fiber lines from CenturyLink in an effort to develop a shared statewide high-speed broadband network.

The Oregon Fiber Partnership is a collaboration between the Office of the State Chief Information Officer, Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University.

“This is a unique collaboration between Oregon research universities and state government to develop a truly statewide shared backbone network,” said Steve Corbató, executive director of the Oregon Fiber Partnership and director of research computing at Oregon Health & Science University, in a statement. “Faster, more capable networks like this are essential for our universities to stay at the forefront of research and innovation today while their broad reach is critical to fulfill the distinct statewide service, education, and public policy missions of our partners.”

The partnership said it’s working closely with the existing statewide network, which is located at the University of Oregon, and the Network for Education and Research in Oregon (NERO). They aim to use the new network to enhance the services NERO currently provides to school districts, local and state government agencies, higher education and non-profit groups.

 Eventually traffic for the statewide backbone networks of Oregon state government, Oregon Health & Science University and Oregon State University will migrate to the new network.

Activation of the fiber network is slated to start during the summer of 2019.

“We’re excited to work with the Oregon Fiber Partnership and Oregon State University to provide the fast, secure and resilient network backbone that will support advanced research projects that benefit Oregonians,” said Craig Cupach, CenturyLink director of research and education sales.