Need for Speed - Every Line Represents a Secure Connection for TelJet's Clients
Burlington Free Press - Dan D'Ambrosio
WILLISTON -- Inside the secure entrance for TelJet Longhaul LLC in Williston there's a "mantrap," a small anteroom with another secure door and a round window with bulletproof glass about two feet in diameter looking out of the 20,000-square-foot facility. The drywalled interior of the mantrap includes a layer of steel mesh.
You can't just blaze your way through," said David Weaver, TelJet's account executive, on a tour last week.
Once past the mantrap, there's a conference room, some offices and lots of empty space in the cavernous metal building. But straight ahead, behind another secure door made of steel swirled with grinder marks, there's the reason for all this security: a data center storing vital records from Vermont businesses and institutions ranging from St. Michael's College to Subatomic Digital, Inc.
The data is often sensitive and the backup simply can't go down. TelJet has a 13,000-pound stack of batteries and a diesel generator to back up the power, and multiple locked steel doors to protect the data.
"It's not just storage, it's the interactive instantaneous backup of other communications facilities for a customer who uses this site to support distributed computing on his own site," said Doug Hyde, TelJet's chairman. "It's backup that operates in parallel with an existing operation, not somebody bringing a tape over here."
Bill Anderson, chief information officer at St. Michael's, said that by December the school will be able to run entirely off its servers at TelJet.
"The data center on campus is in an old, not well air-conditioned or ventilated building that has had pipes break and things like that," Anderson said. "In general it's not a very good practice to not have the ability to bring your systems back up as quickly as they possibly can."
That's why TelJet houses a mirror image of St. Michael's data with almost no gap in time. When data is entered on campus it's automatically duplicated in Williston in seconds or less.
Data storage and backup is a relatively new business for TelJet, which began in 2002 by building what President Greg Kelly says is the largest fiber-optic network in Vermont and New Hampshire, utilized exclusively by commercial clients.
The company plays a central role in a project to bring an exponential increase in Internet speed to the University of Vermont, making it possible for researchers there to share the massive amounts of data involved in modern research with their colleagues at other universities.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced the $17 million upgrade, paid for with grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, at a news conference in Burlington last week. Kelly, 53, spoke briefly, as TelJet will be doing the upgrade in Vermont and New Hampshire after winning a competitive bidding process. TelJet has positioned itself as an alternative to the big telecommunications players.
UVM Internet Upgrade to Aid in Algae Bloom Study
Burlington Free Press - Dan D'Ambrosio
The first project at the University of Vermont to benefit from a planned $17 million upgrade to the schoool's Internet capabilities involves studying algae blooms in Lake Champlain.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center on Thursday to announce the project.
The upgrade, first reported in Wednesday's Burlington Free Press, will turbocharge research efforts by making it possible to share giant data sets with universities across the nation.
The work to improve UVM's Internet capacity will be done by Williston-based TelJet Longhaul and should be finished by January. It will begin with work on fiberoptic lines connecting Burlington to Albany, N.Y., and finish with lines connecting Burlington to Hanover, N.H.
The speed of the network would rise to 160 gigabits per second, a 120-fold increase over the existing network.
"If you're going to do cutting-edge research, you need this kind of speed," Leahy said.
The $17 million for the upgrades comes from grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes for Health.
Benefitting will be a study led by UVM biology professor Judith Van Houten, who will try to determine the genetic triggers that make some algae blooms toxic while others remain benign.
The problem with the toxic algae blooms came to researchers' attention in 1999 when two dogs died after drinking water from the lake in the vicinity of the blooms, said Mary Watzin, dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.
While steps have already been taken to protect public health, Watzin said the research made possible by the North East Cyberinfrastructure Consortium, as the upgraded fiber-optic system is known, will help unlock the genetic key to controlling the toxic blooms.
"In more than 30 years of trying to clean up Lake Champlain, we've found it's extremely complex," Leahy said. "We're now going to understand why some algae blooms are toxic and some are harmless."
See story at Burlington Free Press
UVM To Get Major Internet Upgrade
Burlington Free Press - Dan D'Ambrosio
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D, Vt., plans to announce Thursday a dramatic upgrade to the University of Vermont's Internet access that will put the school on the same footing as leading research institutions across the country.
"The need for high-speed broadband infrastructure is the direct result of two trends -- the explosion of computing power and the enormous growth of the Internet," Leahy said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. "The demand for broadband is especially strong at our academic centers, where the sharing of vast amounts of knowledge is helping us unlock the secrets of medical science, the environment and virtually every other field of research."
Greg Kelly, president of TelJet Longhaul, the Burlington company that will complete the upgrade funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes for Health, said Tuesday there will be a 120-fold increase in the university's Internet2 capacity, from 1 gigabit per second to 120 gigabits per second. The 120-gigabit capacity is 60,000 times faster than the typical home high-speed Internet connection, Kelly said.
Internet2 refers to the special network established in 1996 for the research and education community, which has data-sharing requirements beyond the capacity of the commercial Internet.
"We're joining the highest level of Internet2," Kelly said. "The first phase will be completed by the end of December. The second phase will be completed in January."
The announcement is scheduled to be made in a press conference at 1 p.m. Thursday at Burlington's ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center.
TelJet Longhaul won the contract to complete the upgrade in a competitive bidding process, said Ted Brady, Leahy's field representative in Montpelier. Brady declined to specify the dollar amount of the contract in advance of Thursday's news conference.The North East Cyberinfrastructure Consortium, as the upgraded fiber-optic system is called, would speed up UVM's links to the University of Maine, Dartmouth College, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Delaware, Brady said. As a result, UVM also would have faster Internet2 access to other leading universities around the world.
"This will be a system of fiber optics that will connect UVM to other research institutions across the Northeast as well as across the country," Brady said. "The limitations that exist now mean UVM researchers, students, educators --- you name it -- simply don't have enough bandwidth to communicate complex data sets with other researchers."
Judith Van Houten, a biology professor at UVM, said her own work on chemical sensing -- how we smell things at the cellular level -- involves smaller data sets, but that the trend in research and development generally is to work on extremely large data sets and to collaborate locally and globally.
"That's just how science is going to be done in a transdisciplinary way," Van Houten said. "That's how we're expected to work. We need to be able to get to the Internet and get to the whole world, throw out an idea and have global input on what we're doing."
TelJet's High-Fiber Diet:
The Biggest Broadband provider in Vermont You've Never Heard Of
Seven Days, VT - Ken Picard
Burlington Telelcom gets all the press — and that’s just fine with Greg Kelly, founder, president and CEO of TelJet. Kelly doesn’t feel the need to advertise that he operates one of the largest fiber-optic networks in Vermont and New Hampshire. Commercial and institutional users in need of premium fiber-optic broadband know where to find him: at the company’s brand new headquarters and data center in Williston.
Although it’s small as tech companies go — just 10 employees — TelJet is serving some of the biggest and most technology-dependent organizations in the state: Middlebury College, the University of Vermont, Champlain College, St. Michael’s College, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Vermont Public Radio and Vermont Public Television.
Its progress is impressive, considering that TelJet didn’t even exist a decade ago. Kelly dropped out of college in 1983 to start his first company, selling phone systems. He stayed in the telecom business for many years and founded several other firms, including one, CatchTV, that developed patented technology that links a TV viewer to the Internet.
In February 2000, after a two-year gig as chief information officer for the nascent Oxygen network, Kelly found himself unemployed and living in Vermont. He realized there was money to be made buying and selling the “high-tech junk” being unloaded by companies that had jumped into the deregulated telecom industry and went broke. Kelly describes the opportunity as “the biggest fire sale this nation has ever seen.”
He quickly started buying up the stuff for “pennies on the dollar,” including warehouses full of electronics, conduits and fiber-optic cables. In 2002, Kelly joined with partners Douglas Hyde and David Storandt to form TelJet. The name, which sounds like a commuter airline, was itself something of an afterthought. It was the only telecom-sounding domain name that wasn’t being used by another company.
TelJet started by buying its own utility rights of way and offering redundant, backup fiber networks to large institutions in the event their primary networks went down. And that’s exactly what happened. Clients began switching their broadband service to the smaller but more reliable company.
TelJet, which also applied for federal stimulus money but was denied, offers only fiber-to-the-premises technology, no wireless or antiquated copper lines, Kelly explains. “What we’re really focused on is efficiency,” he says. “It’s all about how you build it, going that extra mile to build in quality.”
For example, TelJet runs most of its fiber lines underground to reduce maintenance costs and improve reliability. And, because TelJet doesn’t try to offer service to every part of the state and doesn’t serve residential users, it only goes where it’s economically feasible to do so.
Kelly emphasizes that his company is about more than providing basic high-speed broadband.
For example, he’s been working on technology to transmit live performances from Burlington’s Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and the Elley-Long Music Center directly into Fletcher Allen Health Care for patients to watch on unused cable channels. Similarly, he envisions helping VPT offer a live cooking show from the New England Culinary Institute; he says his company has the technological expertise to pull it off.
Vermont’s broadband landscape is still “like the Wild West,” says Kelly. And, while his company continues to invest in an ever-expanding fiber network, he admits it remains to be seen what other new technologies, including 4G LTE wireless, will mean for underserved areas of the state.
“The technology is constantly changing,” Kelly says. “We’re just hanging on for the ride.”
This Innovative Telecommunications Entrepeneur is Expanding the State's Fiber-Optic Capacity
Business People Vermont - Julia Lynam
A long and winding path brought Greg Kelly to Vermont to spearhead one of the state’s largest Internet providers, using one of the largest fiber-optic networks in the state. One could say he’s traveled around a network in order to establish a network.
His company, TelJet Longhaul LLC, based in South Burlington (in the process of moving to Williston), has, since 2002, established a fiber-optic cable network of more than 500 miles, including 200 miles that the company has itself installed. With annual growth cruising at 40 to 50 percent, TelJet is set to lay another 150 miles of cable in the coming 12 months.
It’s a no-frills, hands-on business. To enter the company’s premises inside the Ben and Jerry’s building on Community Drive in South Burlington is to walk straight into a work site, through a data storage area into a bare-bones office dominated by a huge computer graphics screen.