A $500,000 grant awarded to the Economic Development Alliance of Bay County will bring a next-generation computing network to Naval Support Activity Panama City, Gov. Rick Scott announced recently.
EDA Executive Director Neal Wade called the network “cutting edge technology” that potentially will benefit the entire business community.
“That puts us into a situation where we’re going to say this an area that’s going to attract technology companies to move in and grow that industry cluster,” he said.
The grant, provided by the Florida Defense Support Task Force, will be used to connect the ultra high-speed data network known as LamdbaRail with the military installation. The 12,000-mile nationwide fiber-optic network is used by NASA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and more than 280 universities for advanced research projects.
It’s also used by the U.S. Department of Energy to connect its Large Hadron Collider network to the particle collider in Geneva, Switzerland. And at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, it was used by the supercomputer Ranger to retrieve and analyze data to study mutations of the H1N1 virus.
It offers blistering ethernet speeds up to 100 gigabits per second and no restrictions on bandwidth or usage. The average Internet speed in the U.S. is 7.4 megabits per second, according to a report by Akamai Technologies, making the LambdaRail network about 13,783 times faster when fully optimized.
In Florida, the network currently has service hubs in Jacksonville and Pensacola.
State Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, who is chairman of the Florida Defense Support Task Force,noted the task force works to keep vital missions at Florida’s military installations as well as to foster positive relationships between the military and the local communities.
“These grants will help protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military installations that generate billions of dollars for our economy as well as stable, high-paying jobs for Floridians,” Patronis said.
A press release from the Governor’s Office said the new technology will improve NSA PC’s military value.
“This $500,000 investment into Bay County will enhance Naval Support Activity Panama City and help them succeed in the state and around the nation,” Gov. Scott said in the release.
Gray Swoope, state secretary of commerce and president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, said the grant will help strengthen Florida’s workforce because of “the skilled former military personnel who enter the employment market.”
Statewide, the Task Force awarded more than $2 million in grants to community organizations supporting Florida military installations. These grants will be used to enhance Florida’s military bases.
The Governor’s Office said these grants will strengthen Florida’s military bases ahead of any potential U.S. Department of Defense realignment or closure actions.