Gigabit game on! FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wants the US to host “at least one gigabit community in all 50 states by 2015,” and he’s calling upon ISPs, as well as state governments to make it a reality. In a statement issued today, Genachowski laid out a roadmap to establish a “clearinghouse of best practices” that would help eliminate the network as obstacle and foster innovative applications, in addition to digital hubs. Of course, cities like Seattle and Kansas City, along with the University of Washington have already been privy to these ultra-high-speeds thanks to the likes of Google and private funding. But, with today’s missive, it’s clear the Commission’s head honcho wants that to be more the rule than exception. It’s no secret Genachowski’s long wanted to shore up the US’ prominence as a connected country — he’s said as much since the beginning of his reign. And with initiatives likes this one, that could fast become a reality.
January 18, 2013
FCC CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI ISSUES GIGABIT CITY CHALLENGE TO
PROVIDERS, LOCAL, AND STATE GOVERNMENTS TO BRING AT LEAST ONE ULTRA-
FAST GIGABIT INTERNET COMMUNITY TO EVERY STATE IN U.S. BY 2015
FCC’S BROADBAND ACCELERATION INITIATIVE TO FOSTER GIGABIT GOAL
Washington, D.C. – Today at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, FCC Chairman Julius
Genachowski called for at least one gigabit community in all 50 states by 2015. Challenging broadband
providers and state and municipal community leaders to come together to meet this “Gigabit City
Challenge,” Chairman Genachowski said that establishing gigabit communities nationwide will accelerate
the creation of a critical mass of markets and innovation hubs with ultra-fast Internet speeds.
Chairman Genachowski said, “American economic history teaches a clear lesson about infrastructure. If
we build it, innovation will come. The U.S. needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so
that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth
and global competitiveness.”
Speeds of one gigabit per second are approximately 100 times faster than the average fixed high-speed
Internet connection. At gigabit speeds, connections can handle multiple streams of large-format, high-
definition content like online video calls, movies, and immersive educational experiences. Networks
cease to be hurdles to applications, so it no longer matters whether medical data, high-definition video, or
online services are in the same building or miles away across the state.
Gigabit communities spur innovators to create new businesses and industries, spark connectivity among
citizens and services, and incentivize investment in high-tech industries. Today, approximately 42
communities in 14 states are served by ultra-high-speed fiber Internet providers, according to the Fiber to
the Home Council.
To help communities meet the Gigabit City Challenge, Chairman Genachowski announced plans to create
a new online clearinghouse of best practices to collect and disseminate information about how to lower
the costs and increase the speed of broadband deployment nationwide, including to create gigabit
communities. At the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, Chairman Genachowski proposed working
jointly with the U.S. Conference of Mayors on the best-practices clearinghouse effort.
Chairman Genachowski also announced that the FCC will hold workshops on gigabit communities. The
workshops will convene leaders from the gigabit community ecosystem-including broadband providers,
and state and municipal leaders- to evaluate barriers, increase incentives, and lower the costs of
speeding gigabit network deployment. Together, the workshops will inform the Commission’s
clearinghouse of ways industry, and local and state leaders can meet the challenge to establish gigabit
Communities across the country are already taking action to seize the opportunities of gigabit broadband
for their local economies and bring superfast broadband to homes. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a local
utility deployed a fiber network to 170,000 homes. Thanks to the city’s investment in broadband
infrastructure, companies like Volkswagen and Amazon have created more than 3,700 new jobs over the
past three years in Chattanooga. In Kansas City, the Google Fiber initiative is bringing gigabit service to
residential consumers, attracting new entrepreneurs and startups to the community.
The Gig.U initiative has already catalyzed $200 million in private investment to build ultra-high-speed
hubs in the communities of many leading research universities, including a recent joint venture with the
University of Washington and a private ISP to deliver gigabit service to a dozen area neighborhoods in
Seattle. The Gigabit City Challenge is designed to drive a critical mass of gigabit communities like these,
creating new markets for 21st century services, promoting competition, spurring innovation, and driving
economic growth nationwide.
The FCC’s Broadband Acceleration Initiative is working to expand the reach of robust, affordable
broadband by streamlining access to utility poles and rights of way, and improving policies for wireless
facilities siting and other infrastructure. Gigabit communities can also benefit from tens of thousands of
miles of critical “middle mile” fiber infrastructure funded throughout the country by the Broadband
Technology Opportunities Program run by the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration. The Commission’s Connect America Fund, the largest ever public investment in rural
broadband, includes funding for high-speed broadband to anchor institutions like schools and hospitals.
News about the Federal Communications Commission can also be found on the Commission’s web
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