Gig.U: The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project is about to go live in Seattle. An effort to offer private companies access to 500 miles of publicly owned fiber-optic lines in Seattle is almost done, according to Bill Schrier, the city’s chief technology officer.
Drawing on America’s rich history of community-led innovation in research and entrepreneurship, Gig.U seeks to accelerate the deployment of ultra-high-speed networks to leading U.S. universities and their surrounding communities. Improvements to these networks drive economic growth and stimulate a new generation of innovations to address critical needs like health care and education.
“University of Washington computer science professor Ed Lazowska, who will be on hand at today’s press conference. Well familar with the progam, we hope Ed will decrive how Gig U will attempt to break the stranglehold that telecommunications companies have held on the growth of high-speed Internet access in the country.
By offering one-gigabit network connections — fast enough to download high-definition movies in less than a minute — not just to scientific researchers and engineers but to the homes and businesses that surround universities, the group aims to create a digital ecosystem that will attract new companies, ideas and educational models.
In Seattle, one of the first areas being looked at is the South Lake Union neighborhood, according to Kelli Trosvig, UW vice president and vice provost for information technology. The new Amazon headquarters, countless startups and a heavy biotech presence make this area an attractive area for broadband expansion, and the South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce has expressed interest. “We see this as just a starting point,” Trosvig said.
Other possibilities include the Eastlake corridor, the Cascade neighborhood, areas directly west of the UW campus, Montlake, Beacon Hill, Fremont and Rainier Beach.
Trosvig said a request for information will be sent out to service providers later this month. In November, a request for proposals will be released, and bids to connect buildings to the fiber optic backbone would be opened in early 2012.
Heading the Gig.U project is Blair Levin. Levin has worked for the Federal Communications Commission twice – the first time during the Clinton administration where he oversaw the first spectrum auctions, and again in 2009 to work on the National Broadband Plan. [24×7]
When the Amazon Kindle Fire launches this week, the “unboxing” experience will include Hulu Plus and ESPN ScoreCenter reinforcing Amazon’s positioning of the tablet as a subscription delivery tool where customers can choose from as many as 400 magazines and newspapers.
Kindle Fire owners will also be able to choose apps for Facebook, Netflix and Rhapsody, as well as games from Zynga, EA, Gameloft, PopCap and Rovio, and the radio service Pandora.
Amazon sees the much-anticipated Kindle Fire as more than a device, but as a way to sell movies, games, books and magazines to consumers.
“We think Kindle Fire customers will love the beautiful, intuitive reading experience we’ve built for their favorite magazines such as Us Weekly, The New Yorker, and Reader’s Digest,” Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content, said in a statement. “The response from publishers has been overwhelmingly positive and they are excited to make their magazines and newspapers available on Kindle Fire, and we’re adding new titles all the time.” [24×7]