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The Illinois Century Network has received approval from the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID) to provide the connection necessary to allow all ICN primary constituents to access the Internet2 Abilene Research Network. The Illinois Century Network is the 20th statewide network to become a Sponsored Education group Participant (SEGP). The ICN will connect to Internet2 through a connection sponsored by the Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN) at its Chicago GigaPOP.

Under the SEGP program, the state's public and private elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as public and private colleges and universities, libraries and museums can connect to the Abilene Research Network. Without this program, many of the ICN constituents would be ineligible to access Internet2 due to the size of their institution or the costs associated with individual access.

The overall goal of the SEGP program is to bring Internet2 member institutions, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, libraries, and museums together to collaborate on new technologies for advancing education-networking tools, applications, middleware, and content - and to provide these technologies to innovators, across all educational sectors in the United States, as quickly and as "connectedly" as possible. Access to Internet2 will provide Illinois educators and their students with educational and research opportunities previously available only to larger research institutions.

All of the state networks that have achieved the SEGP status are participating in an Internet2 sponsored project called the Internet2 K20 Initiative. The K20 Initiative will provide a forum for educators to share information and resources about Internet2 projects designed for the K20 sector. A web site,, has been established to facilitate this sharing and ICN constituents are encouraged to visit and begin institutional planning for Illinois education to take advantage of the resources available through Internet2.