Yesterday was the official launch of US Ignite, a high speed internet initiative teaming up government, industry, and nonprofit organizations. Comcast and other cable internet providers are among the 100 partners in the initiative announced by the White House on Wednesday. In addition to this, a “dig once” executive order was also signed by Barack Obama in order to make broadband construction along federal roadways and properties up to 90 percent cheaper and more efficient.
So what is US Ignite? The initiative exists to promote US leadership in developing applications and services for ultra-fast broadband and software-defined networks. Ultra high-speed broadband internet will be installed in 25 cities to create a national network of communities and campuses with speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, more than a hundred times faster than normal high speed internet connections. Through these networks, researchers in the profit and nonprofit sectors will team up in developing new applications and hopefully put the United States back on the vanguard of technological development.
According to the US Ignite website, the mission is threefold:
- To spur the development of next generation applications and digital experiences
- To maximize the potential of the GENI project testbed network
- To ensure that the new applications developed offer high-impact public benefit or high potential for commercialization
Support for the program comes from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, and the GENI Program Office.
While we are in an election year and partisan topics dominate the news landscape, this is a story worth watching. If America falls behind in broadband technology development, it could be a huge hurdle to have to leap in the future, especially as more and more work is done through global broadband in this changing landscape. Hopefully US Ignite will be successful in its threefold mission.