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GIG.U Takes Next Step to Bring High-Speed Internet Networks to MU, Columbia

University Community Next Generation Innovation Project Releases Request for Information; Announces Eight Additional Research Universities

September 19th, 2011

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo.– Gig.U, the University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, has released a Request for Information (RFI), inviting private sector entities to join the University of Missouri and other Gig.U members in bringing next-generation networks and services to university communities like Columbia across the country. The RFI process convenes the collaboration between Gig.U members and the private sector. Representatives from both entities will work together to provide innovative, cost-effective strategies that will accelerate the deployment of ultra high-speed connectivity to the nation’s leading research universities and their surrounding communities.

“As bandwidth needs grow exponentially, the City of Columbia and University of Missouri plan to lead the way,” Mayor Bob McDavid said.

Since its national launch on July 27, Gig.U has expanded its institutional membership to 37 universities, adding eight research institutions to its nationwide roster, which represents the interests of university communities large and small, from all areas of the country.  New members include: California Institute of Technology, Florida State University, The Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Arizona, University of Colorado – Boulder, University of Maine, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and University of Oklahoma.

“This partnership has the potential to provide enormous benefit to our researchers, Mizzou Online education efforts and health care services – to name just a few areas of application – while turning our entire city into a laboratory for high bandwidth networking,” MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said. “We are excited that the next step in the process is underway.”

The RFI will seek input from university communities, leading Internet service providers and other interested entities with final responses due to Gig.U on Nov. 9, 2011. Respondents and Gig.U members also will have an opportunity to learn more about the RFI process and engage in a dialogue with university and community members during Gig.U’s RFI workshop on Sept. 26 at the University of Chicago.   The RFI can be found on the Gig.U website, at www.gig-u.org.

“Our nation’s premier research universities understand the vital role high-speed networks play in advancing innovation and driving economic growth, and the release of this RFI is the first step to accomplishing this important mission,” said Elise Kohn, program director for Gig.U.  “Making small investments in these communities surrounding these universities can produce significant returns for the economy, job creation and our society as a whole.  We look forward to working with the private sector to make that a reality.”

About Gig.U

Gig.U is a broad-based group of 37 universities and communities across the country working in an effort to accelerate the deployment of ultra high-speed networks to universities and their surrounding communities. The Project is led by Blair Levin, Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program Fellow and former executive director of the National Broadband Plan, and Elise Kohn, formerly a policy advisor at the Federal Communications Commission.  For more information, please visit us at www.gig-u.org

About The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.  For more information, please visit:  www.aspeninstitute.org

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