WASHINGTON, DC – In a joint announcement today, The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, known as Gig.U, and digital economic development firm Gigabit Squared announced the nation’s first multicommunity broadband gigabit deployment with the availability of $200 million in funding. Gig.U is a coalition of some three dozen research universities and their surrounding communities that is working on bringing ultra-high-speed broadband beyond the university walls and into the communities.

Under the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program, capital is available to support up to six Gig.U member-sponsored projects. The program is based on the idea that communities and their local stakeholders can drive economic opportunities through private investments that leverage public capital to accelerate the deployment and utilization of gigabit-speed networks.

Gigabit Squared created the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program to help Gig.U communities build and test gigabit-speed broadband networks. The program will offer services to communities 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.

Members of the program team, which includes Corning, G4S, Juniper Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Calix, Ericsson, Level 3, Genexis, OnDemand, Baller Herbst Law Firm and others, have played roles in dozens of community networks, including Cleveland, Ohio; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Lafayette, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Topeka, Kansas; and the Virgin Islands.

Aaron Gadouas, senior vice president of the investment firm Stern Brothers & Co., comments,
“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.”

Says Blair Levin, executive director of Gig.U, “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. 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.”

Demonstration Projects in Gig.U Communities
The Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program will create demonstration projects in Gig.U communities
that will serve as models 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 jump-start 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,” says Lev Gonick, Case Western Reserve’s chief information officer.

Gonick adds, “Working with Gigabit Squared, Cleveland’s Judson Manor and leading technology companies, we’ll be creating a second gigabit fiber-to-the-premises research project that will serve as a model for other Gig.U communities.”