The University of Maine has joined 36 other college in Gig.U, a coalition of universities and communities working to bring high-speed computer networks to those institutions and communities that surround them. The group will collaborate with private entities to provide innovative, cost-effective strategies to deploy Internet at speeds several hundred times faster than what is currently available in places such as Old Town and Orono.
Gig.U recently released a Request for Information (RFI), inviting the private sector to join UMaine and the rest of the coalition to develop those high-speed connections.
“This is an exciting initiative and we are proud to be part of it,” says UMaine President Paul Ferguson. “Broadband access is increasingly critical in contemporary society, with significant implications for economic development, education and quality of life. We look forward to working with collaborators to forge even stronger connections with the neighboring communities that depend on meainingful linkages with the University of Maine.”
Other Gig.U members include California Institute of Technology, Florida State University, Georgia Tech University, the University of Arizona, University of Colorado, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Oklahoma. UMaine, like many of the Gig.U members, is located in a community that does not yet have access to the high-speed connectivity but would benefit from it.
The RFI will seek input from university communities, leading Internet service providers and other interested entities with final responses due to Gig.U on Nov. 9, 2011. Respondents and Gig.U members will also have an opportunity to learn more about the RFI process and engage in a dialogue with university and community members during Gig.U’s RFI workshop on Sept. 26 at the University of Chicago. The RFI can be found on the Gig.U website.
“Our nation’s premier research universities understand the vital role high-speed networks play in advancing innovation and driving economic growth and the release of this RFI is the first step to accomplishing this important mission,” said Elise Kohn, Program Director for Gig.U. “Making small investments in these communities surrounding these universities can produce significant returns for the economy, job creation and our society as a whole. We look forward to working with the private sector to make that a reality.”
For more information about the technical aspects of Gig.U, contact Jeff Letourneau, ((207) 561-3507) the executive director of the UMaine System’s Networkmaine. For information about UMaine’s role in Gig.U, contact John Gregory, ((207) 581-1602) executive director of information technologies.