Companies selected today for initial build-out of the North Carolina Research and Education NetworkHICKORY, N.C., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MCNC announced today that three companies have been selected to share an estimated $20 million for construction related to the fiber-optic expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) in southeastern and western North Carolina. A fourth company was chosen for an additional $1.8 million contract for the optical design portion of the project. North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue joined other state and federal officials at CommScope in Hickory for a groundbreaking ceremony that highlighted the kick-off of MCNC's initial phase of expanding NCREN. This project will create jobs in these regions and bring critical broadband infrastructure to 37 counties in the state. "We are embarking on a public-private partnership that will literally change the way North Carolina communicates with the rest of the world," Gov. Perdue said. "From the mountains to the coast, broadband access is a difference-maker for rural North Carolina. And, it's a great example of how our state is leading America's recovery." MCNC sought proposals from qualified contractors in August to construct a new fiber-cable network to connect community anchor institutions (universities, community colleges, schools, libraries, county offices and more) to a statewide fiber-optic network. For segments in the west, a contract was awarded to Fiber Technologies, Inc., a Quanta Services company (NYSE: PWR). Under the agreement, Fiber Technologies will install approximately 200 miles of fiber in the west that includes segments from Hickory to Lenoir, Asheville to Old Fort, Enka to Sylva, and Hendersonville to Huntersville. Globe Communications was chosen for segments in the east that includes about 220 miles starting in Rocky Mount and running through Greenville, New Bern, Morehead City, and Jacksonville before ending in Wilmington. Comtech was selected for all fiber splicing related to this portion of the project, and Cisco Systems has been chosen for the optical design portion of the project.