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The Gig.U project, that aims to improve American innovation by deploying gigabit broadband networks to college towns, has teamed up with a startup called Gigabit Squared to provide $200 million to actually deploy those networks to six unnamed towns. The deployment will be part of a program will provide open fiber networks at speeds of a gigabit or more.
The Gig.U project, which was announced last July, is a broad-based group of over 30 research universities from across the United States that aims to bring superfast broadband to university towns via a public-private partnership model. So far it is working with private companies to build projects in Maine and Atlanta. Today’s news is that it will work with Gigabit Squared, a year-old company composed of people who helped bring gigabit networks to Chattanooga, Tenn. and Lafayette, La. to select and deploy fast broadband to 6 more communities. Gigabit Squared is providing the capital, although details of the financing model aren’t clear.
The lucky towns will be announced between November 2012 and March 2013. And the goal is to deliver competitively priced broadband that will help push the U.S. forward and allow developers and users on those networks to not worry about the limits of cable or DSL speeds. Much like Google’s (s goog) fiber to the home effort, the Gig.U projects aim to see what people can do with unlimited broadband.
And like Google’s network and others, the Gigabit Squared network will be open, which means other service providers can buy capacity on the network to offer other products. The plan isn’t just to offer people fast service and big capacity, but also to build programs in the community that will take advantage of the network and help drive adoption. From the Gigabit Squared rleease:
“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.”
So maybe a hospital will set up a telehealth option, or a university can create online classrooms. Gigabit Squared says it will work with companies that include Corning(s glw), G4S, Juniper Networks(s jnpr), Alcatel Lucent(s alu), Calix, Ericsson(s eric), Level 3, Genexis, OnDemand, Baller Herbst. We’ll update the story with more information,