ERC Broadband and National Climatic Data Center strike new deal

Calling its broadband connection its “lifeblood,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville has agreed to a five-year agreement with ERC Broadband to utilize the nonprofit’s broadband-communications backbone.

The agreement extends, and formalizes, a relationship between the NCDC and the Asheville-based ERC that began in 2004. Terms of the agreement have not yet been disclosed.

Among its other functions, ERC operates a regional fiber-optic network connecting institutions and local governments including UNCA, A-B Tech, the city of Asheville, Buncombe County, NCDC and several others to its network throughout WNC and upstate South Carolina.

The renewal of the relationship is significant insofar as economic-development officials and local groups such as the Asheville HUB see the NCDC as the linchpin for making Asheville a center for the booming climate-sciences and climate-services industry.

“The new agreement stems from recognition that ERC Broadband is enhancing the national presence of NOAA’s NCDC, and that of the National Weather Service as well,” said Hunter Goosmann, general manager of ERC Broadband, in a press release. “ERC Broadband is creating awareness of and interest in climate data, and we are working with NCDC to establish and support the growth of its programs throughout the United States.”

“ERC Broadband’s fiber optic network is the lifeblood of NCDC,” said NCDC Deputy Director Sharon LeDuc. “A tremendous volume of data from NOAA’s radar stations and satellites is digitally communicated to NCDC at high speed. Over 2.9 petabytes … of data are stored at NCDC. NCDC scientists are stewards of the data and its quality, and this stewardship is essential for NOAA to provide these data to the public. ERC Broadband’s network enables NCDC to provide massive amounts of information to private companies, academic centers and other government agencies that utilize our services in research and in the development of climate services products.”

“ERC Broadband has been instrumental in helping Asheville build its climate services community by providing the bandwidth that attracts businesses and talent,” said George Briggs, president of Centers for Environmental and Climate Interaction. The goal of the Asheville-based nonprofit is to encourage the development of trusted climate-change information and analyses for policymakers, governments, businesses and the public. “Even though the Internet makes the data available to anyone anywhere in the world with a computer, it pays companies and other organizations to be physically close to NCDC’s archives so they don’t have to transport all the data they need to a distant city for research,” according to Briggs.

To read the entire release, click here.

— Hal L. Millard, staff writer


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