Gig.U RFI Responses Pave Way for Next Generation Gigabit Economy

February 14, 2012  • Alexa Wahl

February 14, 2012
Media Contact: Rebecca Mark, 202-735-5706, [email protected]

Washington, D.C., – Gig.U, the University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, today announced the success of its preliminary review of the responses to its Request for Information (RFI). The RFI responses identify multiple paths for accelerating the deployment of next generation networks and services for its 37 university community members across the United States. Gig.U launched in 2011 to identify opportunities to drive deployment of ultra high-speed networks to research-driven leading U.S. university communities to stimulate a new generation of innovation that addresses critical needs such as healthcare, education and energy.

The RFI generated 57 comprehensive responses, 24 of which came from network operators and 14 came from equipment or infrastructure vendors. Respondents included major Internet Service Providers as well as smaller players and potential new entrants using a variety of new technologies. The respondents also included several consortia of businesses opting to work together to create a critical mass of test beds to spur the deployment of next generation networks.

“Nearly all of our member communities now have options for increased bandwidth offerings that they previously did not have,” stated Blair Levin, Gig.U Executive Director. “Further, significant new private sector financial resources are being put on the table. While there are numerous steps to go, we are grateful to the respondents for providing specific guidance for communities that believe that having world leading networks in their neighborhoods and business districts would drive economic growth and an enhanced way of life.”

Several communities have already begun multi-vendor negotiations designed to clarify and improve the potential for next generation networks in their communities. Other communities are focused on particular applications, while others are working on creating test beds for technologies that can improve connectivity for communities beyond the Gig.U membership. The Gig.U effort has also helped spark individual community efforts, such as Seattle’s offer of dark fiber and the State of Illinois’ offering of incentives for ultra-speed deployment that will hopefully lead to accelerated deployments.

“The process has demonstrated that American creativity and willingness to explore new approaches is still strong. We believe the Gig.U efforts will result in a number of our communities achieving a strategic bandwidth advantage, that in turn will enable them to be the hubs of innovation and economic growth in the 21st Century information age economy,” said Ellen Satterwhite, Gig.U Program Director.

Members of the Gig.U consortium will meet next in March to discuss the most promising approaches.

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To see the full report, please visit this link: http://www.gig-u.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Gig.U-Public-Report-on-RFI-Results-Final.pdf

About Gig.U: Gig.U is a broad-based group of 37 universities and communities across the country working in an effort to accelerate the deployment of next generation networks and services by using university communities as test-beds. Gig.U is a project of the Communications and Society Program of the Aspen Institute. The Communications and Society Program serves as a non-partisan venue for global leaders and experts to exchange insights on the societal impact of advances in digital technology and network communications. It also creates a multidisciplinary space in the communications policy-making world where veteran and emerging decision-makers can explore new concepts and develop new policy networks.

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