Fiber networks are very expensive and private companies don’t invest in this type of infrastructure unless they see clear returns on their investment. What is undeniable is the potential, because once the infrastructure is in place it opens up opportunities for public and private enterprises previously limited because of technology. Seattle has become the latest city to be chosen as part of the Gig.U project, a project with a goal to deploy gigabit broadband networks in college towns. A total of six towns will be selected between November 2012 and March 2013.
The Seattle project will be in collaboration with the University of Washington and the company funding the project, Gigabit Squared.
The network will provide fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and fiber-to-the-business (FTTB) in what has been dubbed demonstration neighborhoods around the city. The 12 locations will be connected offering gigabit speeds up to 1000 faster than DSL and cable high-speed connections.
Neighborhoods beyond the chosen 12 will be able to use a gigabit broadband wireless network that will cover the city with point-to-point wireless access. This will give these areas network and Internet services without access to the fiber infrastructure. Mobile users will also have access to this service with a wireless neighborhood cloud.
The importance of broadband technology can’t be understated; while other countries are moving full steam ahead, the U.S. is lagging far behind. Essentially, we are playing catch up with countries such as Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong and the Netherlands to name a few. Broadband with this type of speed is not a luxury, but a necessity that will keep up us competitive with existing markets as well as emerging markets that are jumping directly to broadband.
According to the project, Gigabit Seattle will include Internet access services with symmetrical connection speeds up to 1,000 (1 Gigabit/1 Gbps). GB2 Seattle expects to offer the following service levels:
Up to 20 Mbps Up to 20 Mbps
Up to 50 Mbps Up to 50 Mbps
Up to 100 Mbps Up to 100 Mbps
Up to 250 Mbps Up to 250 Mbps
Up to 500 Mbps Up to 500 Mbps
Up to 1,000 Mbps Up to 1,000 Mbps
The network is intended to last for the next 10 years and services will be available for 100,000 residents by the end of 2014. The service locations will be:
- The University’s West Campus District
- South Lake Union
- First Hill/Capitol Hill/Central Area
- The University’s Metropolitan Tract
- The University’s Family Housing at Sand Point
- Volunteer Park Area
- Beacon Hill and SODO Light Rail Station
- Mount Baker; Columbia City, Othello, Rainier Beach.
Once it is in place, improved opportunities in education, healthcare, public services and economic development will be open to entrepreneurs, charitable organizations and the public sector.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey