$200 million in funding for ultra high-speed Internet up for grabs

Ultra High-Speed Internet Funding

The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project (Gig.U) and Gigabit Squared this week announced funding of $200 million for the nation’s first multi-community broadband gigabit deployment project. The funding will support projects for up to six select Gig.U members, which will offer broadband networks with speeds between 100 and 1,000 times faster than today’s standards. “What makes the Gigabit Squared approach so exciting is that it goes far beyond normal industry business models in how to successfully and creatively improve broadband access speeds for university communities, which is exactly the premise upon which Gig.U was founded,” said Blair Levin, Executive Director of Gig.U. “We intuitively knew this, but to see Gigabit Squared emerge so strongly today proves that yes, America needs an upgrade; and that yes, there are innovators and investors willing to step up to get it done.” Gig. U and Gigabit Squared will make their selections between November 2012 and March 2013. The joint press release follows below.

Gigabit Squared and Gig.U to Make Available $200 Million in Broadband Development Funding Through the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program

Digital Economic Development Initiatives is Nation’s First Multi-Community Gigabit Deployment

(May 23, 2012) Washington, DC – In a joint announcement today, The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project (Gig.U) and Gigabit Squared announced the nation’s first multi-community broadband gigabit deployment with the availability of $200 million in funding. Under the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program, capital is available to support up to six select Gig.U member-sponsored projects. At the center of the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program is the idea that communities and their local stakeholders can drive economic opportunities through private investments that leverage public capital that will accelerate the deployment and utilization of gigabit speed networks.

Gigabit Squared created the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program to help select Gig.U communities build and test gigabit speed broadband networks with speeds from 100 to 1000 times faster than what Americans have today. The Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program will offer communities services at a competitive price for innovative projects that range from small neighborhoods of 5,000 to 10,000 and up to 100,000 people. Selections will be announced between November 2012 and March 2013.

We have brought together a team that has had a hand in transforming broadband in dozens of communities, Including Cleveland-Ohio, Chattanooga-Tennessee, Lafayette-Louisiana, Jackson-Mississippi, Topeka-Kansas, and the Virgin Islands. Including companies such as Corning, G4S, Juniper Networks, Alcatel Lucent, Calix, Ericson, Level 3, Genexis, OnDemand, Baller Herbst and others.

Aaron Gadouas, Senior Vice President of the investment firm Stern Brothers & Co., commented on the unique model Gigabit Squared has created, “Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program is a compelling public/private model because both sides are able to leverage the contributions of the other, enabling projects that would not have been completed otherwise. It is a well-conceived and innovative initiative.”

“What makes the Gigabit Squared approach so exciting is that it goes far beyond normal industry business models in how to successfully and creatively improve broadband access speeds for university communities, which is exactly the premise upon which Gig.U was founded,” said Blair Levin, Executive Director of Gig.U. ”We intuitively knew this, but to see Gigabit Squared emerge so strongly today proves that yes, America needs an upgrade; and that yes, there are innovators and investors willing to step up to get it done.”

The Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program will create demonstration projects in Gig.U communities that will serve as a model for maximizing the impacts of regional broadband networks. Each will feature “open” architecture networks to create long-term value and growth for the Gig.U University and community partners.

Each Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program project will feature:

  • The use of underutilized network assets and capacity and local investment to drive services and unlock long-term value and sustainability,
  • A framework to create new capacity and spur development, including community service applications that promote better health, education and community services,
  • Previously unavailable speed and bandwidth,
  • Digital economic development strategies to aggregate revenues and lower the overall costs of scaling gigabit-broadband, and
  • A future-state network that will serve as a platform for innovation, next generation application development, workforce development and job creation.

“The Stimulus Funding was a great jumpstart to get broadband initiatives on track in the U.S. But it is just a starting point,” explains Mark Ansboury, president of Gigabit Squared. “In order to realize true economic revitalization, we’re urging our national and community leaders to think and act in more creative ways. And we’re backing those efforts with significant investment of our own.”

“As a founding member of Gig.U, Case Western Reserve University is proud to be piloting the next generation of broadband networks to neighborhoods around universities, and providing high bandwidth service to support the national priorities of health and wellness, home energy management, public safety, and STEM education at the high school level,” said Dr. Lev Gonick, Case Western Reserve’s Vice President, Information Technology Services & Chief Information Officer. “Working with Gigabit Squared, Cleveland’s Judson Manor and leading technology companies, we’ll be creating a second gigabit fiber to the premise research project that will serve as a model for other Gig.U communities.”

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