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First Gigabit Communities Awardee Announced

At the beginning of 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn launched a Gigabit Communities Challenge competition to award up to $4M in prize funding to the most promising ultra high-speed broadband deployment projects in Illinois. Applications were open to any private or public organization to build or expand world-class broadband networks in Illinois and connect at least 1,000 end users to an ultra high-speed broadband network. Over 40 applications for funding were submitted, from commercial and non-commercial entities. The first two awardees were announced last week (October 16) in Chicago and Aurora.

Governor Quinn and University of Chicago President Zimmer announced that the first awardee is Gigabit Squared. (Mark Ansboury, President of Gigabit Squared, announced the launch of Gigabit Squared at the SHLB Conference earlier this year.) This $9 million project includes $2 million from the state, $2 million from the University of Chicago, and $5 million from Gigabit Squared, and will serve nine neighborhoods in the south side of Chicago (Hyde Park, Woodlawn, Kenwood, and others) around the university. The project will serve over 100 anchor institutions, and will include wireless and fiber network construction. 

This is the fourth and largest investment flowing so far from the Gig.U initiative, and the Gigabit Squared network will connect to the R&E network that is serving the campus.

For more information about the event, see:

The SHLB Coalition will be meeting with the FCC this week and will explore whether the FCC could allocate some Universal Service Funds to promote similar Gigabit communities challenges in other states.

John Windhausen is President of Telepoly Consulting. He regularly works with EDUCAUSE Policy on matters of networking and telecommunications.