Gig.U, which describes itself as a university community next-generation innovation project, says it has released an open letter that outlines its upcoming Request for Information (RFI) process. The RFI will be the first step in Gig.U’s efforts to accelerate the deployment of high-speed network services and applications in university communities. Gig.U says the letter, which was separately mailed to Internet service providers and other entities, describes its goals, principles, and underlying assumptions that will direct the project’s efforts.
Gig.U expects its RFI process will generate proposals from private sector partners that will trigger a new generation of high-speed networking offerings for 32 of the nation's research universities and their surrounding communities. New additions from the previously named 29 universities are:
- California Institute of Technology
- Florida State University
- University of Arizona
Gig.U believes its members will lower their costs if they work together, as well as improve the business economics for the private sector entities interested in working with them.
Gig.U asserts the goals of the RFI process are to:
- Promote the deployment of next-generation networks and services across member communities to stimulate economic development
- Identify creative approaches to design, operate, and finance self-sustaining next-generation networks for member communities while evaluating the trade-offs between these different approaches
- Gain an understanding of how differences between member communities influence the level of private sector interest in working with any individual community
- Consider ways in which multiple project communities can work together beyond the RFI process to improve the private sector business case for next-generation networks
Following the release of the RFI, Gig.U will host a workshop on September 26 at the University of Chicago for interested private sector entities and other stakeholders.
As previously reported, Gig.U is a group of 32 universities and communities across the country working to accelerate the deployment of high-speed networks to universities and their surrounding communities. The project, launched on July 27, is led by Blair Levin, Aspen Institute communications and society program fellow and former executive director of the National Broadband Plan; Elise Kohn, formerly a policy advisor at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); and Sherry Gelfand, who served as special assistant to Levin within the Omnibus Broadband Taskforce at the FCC.