A broad-based group of 29 universities and communities across the country today launched Gig.U: The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project. Drawing on America's rich history of community-led innovation in research and entrepreneurship, Gig.U seeks to accelerate the deployment of ultra high-speed networks to leading U.S. universities and their surrounding communities. Improvements to these networks drive economic growth and stimulate a new generation of innovations addressing critical needs, such as health care and education.
"America's global leadership in many areas results from its leadership in creating and maintaining the world's leading research universities," said Michael M. Crow, President of Arizona State University. "As the world accelerates towards a knowledge-based economy, global leadership in generating economic growth and jobs will depend even more on these research institutions."
University communities increasingly depend on high-speed networks to educate, collaborate and share large amounts of information instantaneously. Research in real time has fueled the growth of the global information economy, yet today's market for bandwidth services does not address the particular needs of university communities. Gig.U's mission is to create a favorable climate for next generation network test-beds and trigger a new generation of high-speed networking offerings for these communities.
"Gig.U members came together to address our unique connectivity gap," said Lev Gonick, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Information Technology Services at Case Western Reserve University, a Gig.U member. "We intimately understand that for American research institutions to continue to provide leadership in areas important to U.S. competitiveness, we have to act to improve the market opportunity for upgrading to gigabit networks in our university communities. We believe a small amount of investment can yield big returns for the American economy and our society."
Gig.U universities and their surrounding communities have the most favorable conditions for a market-based, ultra high-speed broadband strategy, including dense populations and high demand from institutions and residential customers. These communities have long served as partners and test-beds for advances in market segments ranging from healthcare and education to technology and energy. Through an open Request for Information (RFI) process, Gig.U will gather data on these specific segments with an intent to inform high-speed service providers of new implementation approaches, and to enable competition to bring high-speed networks to research communities. The group aims for the RFI process translating into tailored Requests for Proposals for deploying cutting edge networking technology to campuses and communities in a matter of years, not decades.