ImageIt's still way too early for anyone to start ditching their existing broadband connections, but it looks like a few more communities in the US will be getting some ultra high-speed broadband networks to call their own. Ohio-based Gigabit Squared announced today that it's secured $200 million in funding to bring gigabit-speed networks to up to six different communities -- communities that have unfortunately not yet been named. What we do know is that the communities will all be ones centered around research universities, which themselves will be partners in the Gig.U initiative (an effort that has already enlisted more than 30 institutions). As The New York Times reports, Gigabit Squared is currently in talks with the first university in line for the rollout, and it apparently plans to make more announcements about timing and participation "later this year."

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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."

About Gigabit Squared

Gigabit Squared is a digital economic development corporation specializing in the planning, implementation and roll-out of IT-enabled infrastructure. We help communities and network providers across the globe develop, capitalize, implement and leverage sustainable infrastructure investments for civic and economic transformation. Public-private partnerships (P3), collaboration and co-investment in large-scale infrastructure programs drive remarkable results and financial returns. The Gigabit Squared team has been responsible for developing and acquiring billions of dollars in infrastructure funding through government, quasi-government, private, and non-profit sources. Visit us online to learn more at www.gigabitsquared.com.

About Gig.U

The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, or Gig.U, is a broad-based group of over 30 leading research universities from across the United States. Drawing on America's rich history of community-led innovation in research and entrepreneurship, Gig.U seeks to accelerate the deployment of gigabit 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. Visit Gig.U online at www.gig-u.org.