A Need for Speed

Duke joins effort to promote faster Internet

Blazing Internet speeds can mean more than just smooth downloading. Network improvements can drive economic growth and stimulate a new generation of innovations addressing critical needs such as health care and education, proponents say.

With those ends in mind, Duke has joined a group of twenty-nine universities in launching Gig.U, a project aimed at accelerating the deployment of ultrahighspeed computer networks to leading U.S. universities and their surrounding communities. The project, officially called “Gig.U: The University Community Next-Generation Innovation Project,” draws on America’s history of research, community-led innovation, and entrepreneurship, says Tracy Futhey, vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Duke and one of the early proponents of Gig.U.

University communities increasingly depend on high-speed networks to educate, collaborate, and share large amounts of information instantaneously. Commercial bandwidth services, however, often don’t adequately address the particular needs of university communities. The launch of Gig.U aims to create a favorable climate for next-generation network test beds and trigger a new generation of high-speed networking offerings for these communities.

Gig.U will gather data on specific communities with the intent to inform highspeed service providers of new implementation approaches and to enable competition to bring high-speed networks to research communities. The group aims for this process to accelerate the implementation of new networking technology, bringing faster speeds to campuses and communities in a matter of years, rather than decades.

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