UNL joins GigU to bring faster internet for university communities


UNL recently joined GigU, the University Community Next Generation Innovation Project.

GigU is a nationwide group of universities and research institutions working to accelerate the deployment of ultra-high-speed connectivity to the nation’s leading research universities and their surrounding communities. GigU has released a request for information. The RFI process, according to GigU, will work “with current and potential network service providers, as well as others, to create a critical mass of next generation test beds by accelerating the offering of ultra high-speed network services to their communities.”

Since its national launch July 27, Gig.U has expanded its institutional membership to 37 universities, adding 8 research institutions to its nationwide roster, which represents the interests of university communities large and small, from all areas of the country. In addition to UNL, new members include: California Institute of Technology, Florida State University, Georgia Tech University, University of Arizona, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Maine, and the University of Oklahoma.

“On behalf of our now 37-strong GigU members, we are delighted to release today’s RFI,” said Blair Levin, Executive Director. “We believe that through this open process, our university communities can work with current and potential network providers to figure out creative and collaborative ways to speed the deployment of ultra high-speed network services to these hotbeds of innovation.”

The RFI will seek input from university communities, leading Internet service providers and other interested entities with final responses due to GigU on Nov. 9, 2011. Respondents and GigU members will also have an opportunity to learn more about the RFI process and engage in a dialogue with university and community members during GigU’s RFI workshop on Sept. 26 at the University of Chicago. The RFI is available at http://www.gig-u.org.

“We are on the verge of very exciting possiblities for UNL and the City of Lincoln,” said Mark Askren, UNL’s chief information officer. “The university is a major hub of innovation for Nebraska. The potential growth in research enabled by tapping into a next generation network is tremendous. It will strengthen not only UNL’s presence on the national scene, but contribute to making Lincoln a more desirable place to live.”

“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 GigU. “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.”

- Jon Wilson, Information Services