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July 27, 2011

Case Western Reserve University Joins Gig.U

Why is Case Western Reserve University supporting Gig.U?


Universities have a critical role to play in the R&D efforts of our nation. Some of that R&D is in support of basic science and other efforts lead to commercialization and technology transfer. Many of the discoveries and new ideas that originate in our labs, classrooms, and residence halls are among America’s best and most competitive offerings in the global economy. We have the absolute challenge and privilege of living the future today.

Before there was a commercial Internet, Case Western Reserve was one of the earliest universities connected to the ARPANET in January 1971.

Before there were companies that supported online bulletin boards and online libraries, Case Western Reserve pioneered the early FreeNet systems in 1986 and indeed the Cleveland FreeNet software drove a majority of such early pioneering efforts across the country.

Before all-fiber-optic networks became part of the way large organizations were wired up, Case Western Reserve was the first university to have an all-fiber-optic network, in 1989.

Case Western Reserve was one of the 34 charter university members of Internet2 in 1996 and an original member of the National Lambda Rail in 2003 which has helped drive new standards for our national network providers and the electronics from vendors like Cisco and Juniper that drive those national backbone providers.

In 2002, when 100 megabit /second was the standard network speed, and five years before switched gigabit became the de facto standard for large organizations, Case Western Reserve partnered to roll out the first switched gigabit fiber optical network in higher education across all of the university.

Case Western Reserve was one the founding members of OneCleveland now known as OneCommunity formed in October 2003. OneCommunity is an "ultrabroadband" (gigabit speed) regional fiber optic network. This network is for the use of organizations in education, research, government, healthcare, arts, culture, and the nonprofit sector in Northeast Ohio and has partnered with the Telecom and Cable industry to extend advanced networked connectivity to 22 counties in Ohio. OneCommunity has proved to be an important proof point and exemplar for the Department of Commerce's NTIA as it sought principles for the investments to be made in broadband through the National Broadband Plan and the Recovery Act.

In May 2010, Case Western Reserve lit up the nation's first gigabit fiber to the home research program, connecting 104 homes and apartments in a regular Cleveland neighborhood around the University known as the Case Connection Zone. Our research program was to advance the pre-commercial exploration and the advancement of new applications and services in health and wellness, energy and smart grid management, neighborhood safety, and STEM education that would leverage these unprecedented capabilities to advance both our research program at the University and the priorities of the neighborhoods around the University.

The Case Connection Zone is a proof point in creating a University - Community partnership, taking the very first steps in exploring what could be done and whether a marketplace might develop to support the replication and scaling of smart and connected communities.

Today's launch of Gig.U is the aggregation of the demand side interest for ultrabroadband among great Universities and Colleges across the nation, both for ourselves and for the neighborhoods around us. It is a call to the provider community both traditional and emerging that there is an expression of interest from the leadership of our universities and our cities to advance the research and education on our campuses and to help catalyze market forces to partner with us in transitioning our pre-commercial efforts that are part of our core mission to the competitive forces of the market.

We want to attract and retain the best and brightest students and scholar/researchers to bring distinction to our universities and to jumpstart never before seen ideas into globally competitive companies that will bring new jobs, wealth and enhanced the quality of living in the cities within which we live, work, study, and play.

Lev Gonick
Cleveland, Ohio
June 27, 2011

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