Fiber Optics Company Fatbeam Donates Private Fiber Line to UI Cybersecurity Center
The University of Idaho’s Research Park received a technological boost this year thanks to local broadband fiber provider Fatbeam.
Fatbeam, cofounded by Greg Green and Shawn Swanby in 2010, provides broadband access services to business enterprise, healthcare, education and government customers in the Western United States. The $3.2 million donation includes two Fatbeam-owned private fibers beginning at the Liberty Lake, Washington, Tierpoint data facility and traversing 65 miles across greater Coeur d’Alene. The donation of high-speed fiber optics also includes a long-term contract to provide 1-gigabit Internet access for the UI Research Park in Post Falls.
“High speed optical fiber is required infrastructure for economic development today,” said Charles Buck, associate vice president and executive officer of UI Northern Idaho. “This partnership and generous donation from Fatbeam will enable us to better support technology business development. Coupled with our middle and high school computer science training efforts to build tech awareness, workforce training in cybersecurity, and bachelor’s degree in computer science education, this gift will support an emerging tech strength right here in northern Idaho.”
Fatbeam, headquartered in Coeur d’Alene, owns 338 miles of fiber in markets throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Oregon and is in the process designing and deploying another 200 miles in other Northwest Markets.
“Today as you look at the cyber attacks on our government systems — like the FAA, large banking and retail corporations — it just hit me that the careers and jobs of the future are without question technology based and security is of the utmost importance,” Green said.
"This gift will support an emerging tech strength right here in northern Idaho.”Charles Buck, on the donation from Fatbeam
“It was a natural extension for us to invest in the idea and donate fiber optics, Internet access and human resources to the university,” Green said.
The secure line allows the CTOC to use the lab to study cybersecurity scenarios, such as the introduction of malware, without risking a public network. UI will also be able to use the line to demonstrate to businesses how their own networks may be vulnerable and how they may benefit from training, said Karen Thurston, director of the CTOC.
Fatbeam has been a partner with the CTOC since it was launched in April 2015. The CTOC is funded in part by a two-year, $463,000 grant from the Idaho Department of Labor. Idaho businesses support the center through donations and covering the expense of trainings.
The Research Park is home to UI’s Cybersecurity Training and Operations Center (CTOC) Lab. CTOC offers cybersecurity workshops and training for regional businesses, as well as be a resource for students in the computer science education program that is a partnership between UI and North Idaho College.