& cplSiteName &

Vendors Intrigued by Gigabit Network Project

Kaps Korner
Kaps Korner
Kaps Korner
12/9/2011
50%
50%

11:15 AM -- The quixotic dream floated this summer by more than 30 leading U.S. research universities -- to build gigabit broadband networks in their towns -- apparently has a small groundswell of support from equipment manufacturers and service providers who might help them reach their goal, according to the group that's leading the charge.

In an announcement Thursday, the organization known as Gig.U -- for its goal of bringing Gigabit-per-second networks to research university campuses and towns -- said it had received "dozens" of formal replies to its request for information (RFI), a process by which the group sought any and every idea on how such networks might be built, with or without the blessing of traditional big-company service providers.

Gig-U RFI September 2011 Looking from the outside in, the RFI process gives some framework to Gig.U's warm-fuzzy idea of starting with a big goal and working backward to find a way to make it happen. Detractors of the Gig.U idea can easily point fingers and say it costs too much to build, and you'll never make money off such networks. What Gig.U executive director Blair Levin and his group are doing instead is opening up the process to any and all possible participants -- "Like Apollo 13, we want to put all the pieces of a network into a room and see if you can put them together in a different way to make economic sense," Levin said.

While it will take at least a month for Gig.U and its partners to sort through all the ideas, pitches, thoughts and advice, a quick read of some of the plans has cheered Levin into thinking that Gig.U wasn't such a crazy idea after all.

"The RFI [process] was a way to find out what all the technical options might be, what is possible," said Levin, whose resume includes his shepherding of the recent National Broadband Plan, a career as a Wall Street telecom analyst and a stint as chief of staff for FCC Chairman Reed Hundt during the Clinton administration. Among the RFI respondents are some well-known equipment manufacturers and backbone service providers, showing that Gig.U's ideas might have taken a first step toward reality.

The next step will be seeing how Gig.U towns, schools and suppliers might blend technology and business ideas into workable, sustainable networks. It might be a mix of fiber and wireless, perhaps using nascent white-spaces technology, serving only campus buildings or perhaps some innovation centers inside university towns. The group will hold a workshop early in 2012 to pick through the RFI ideas to see how they might best move forward, Levin said.

While the group and its supporters know they've got a long road ahead, they also know that if they wait around for the big telcos or cableco to build those networks, they might be waiting forever. Verizon's past doubts about the marketability of its high-speed services and its recent capitulation to the cable providers is proof to Levin that if gigabit networks are going to be built, there has to be a new blueprint. (See Can Big Broadband Inspire Innovation?.)

"It's pretty clear already that the market is not going to do this [build gigabit networks] on its own," Levin said. "If we want to get this done, we have to look at it all very differently."

What that means, Levin said, is that there is probably some mix of help from the community, new equipment that might be provided at cost, and shared expenses for backbone connectivity that brings such networks into being. Levin said that Gig.U is already learning some lessons from Google's upcoming launch of fiber-to-the-home services in Kansas City, such as how simple things like speeding up governmental approval can produce bottom-line results. (See Google's Fiber Engineers Descend on Kansas City .)

"There are things that a city can do to help [build a network] like provide rights-of-way, access to buildings and fast-track approvals," Levin said. "The cost of these things to the city is basically zero, but in Kansas City it was measurable to Google in dollars."

That the need will be there some day for these networks is almost a given; Levin pointed to a recent New York Times article about how DNA sequencing research is currently being hampered by networks unable to handle the big streams of data created. One of the points of building gigabit networks, he said, is not the end goal of the network speed but the enablement of innovation.

"The testbeds are not just for the networks, but for innovation -- where you can just wipe out any barriers caused by broadband issues," Levin said.

— Paul Kapustka is the founder and editor of Sidecut Reports, a Wireless analysis site and research service. He can be reached at kaps@sidecutreports.com. Special to Light Reading.

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from Kaps Korner
7:00 AM What prevents more companies from building seamless networks made of stitched-together hot spots?
6:00 AM With nearly ubiquitous Wi-Fi, industry folks and academics are looking to unlicensed spectrum to expand broadband's reach and cut down on its costs
10:30 AM Mobile video isn't the next big thing; it's the big thing that's happening right here, right now
12:30 PM Here's what you need to know if you have a mobile device or a connected laptop
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, July 27, 1:00PM EDT
The Changing Face of the Data Center World
Rodney M. Elder, Senior Solutions Architect, Equinix
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, August 3, 1:00PM EDT
The Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center
Guru Parulkar, Executive Director, Open Networking Research Center, Open Networking Lab
Wednesday, August 10, 1:00PM EDT
Telcos & Open Source 101
Phil Robb, Senior Technical Director, OpenDaylight
Friday, August 12, 1:00PM EDT
The Role of Open Source in NFV
Jim Fagan, Director, Cloud Practice, Telstra
in association with:
From The Founder
The more things change, the more they stay the same for Juniper's next-gen comms solutions, and that's a good thing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (0) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 2 – Climbing the Virtualization Maturity Curve

7|19|16   |   06:56   |   (0) comments


Many of the initial use case implementations are single-vendor and self-contained. The industry is still climbing the virtualization maturity curve, needing further clarity and stability in the NFV infrastructure (NFVi) and greater availability and choice of virtualized network functions (VNFs). Interoperability between NFVis and VNFs from different vendors ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks' Kumar Mehta on SD-WAN Managed Services

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


In Silicon Valley, Steve Saunders sits down with Versa's Kumar Mehta for an interview focused on why service providers are building SD-WAN managed services, and how Versa's telco customers are innovating.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper Networks & The Evolution of NFV

7|19|16   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Senior Juniper Networks executives talk to Light Reading Founder & CEO Steve Saunders about NFV developments and the recent independent evaluation by test lab EANTC of Juniper's Cloud CPE solution.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink Goes Beyond Managed WiFi

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


CenturyLink's managed WiFi allows enterprises, such as retailers and resorts, to track guest WiFi usage in order to help them better communicate with customers.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T Launches Network Functions on Demand

7|17|16   |   05:26   |   (0) comments


Roman Pacewicz, Senior Vice President, Offer Management & Service Integration, AT&T Business Solutions, discusses the operator's launch of its Network Functions on Demand service.
LRTV Interviews
Enterprise Pitch for Ciscosson

7|14|16   |   04:43   |   (0) comments


After seven months of near silence, Cisco and Ericsson executives publicly discussed details on their extensive partnership. Among the tidbits shared by Martin Zander, VP, group strategy programs, Ericsson, and Doug Webster, VP service provider marketing, Cisco: The partnership was initially launched to serve the service provider market, but is already gaining ...
Wagner’s Ring
Cisco Faces Up to Hypercloud Threat

7|13|16   |   02:42   |   (0) comments


Facebook, Amazon and Google mostly don't buy branded technology for their networks – they build their own. That's a threat to Cisco – and its competitors too – which face potentially dwindling demand for their product. Is Cisco up to the challenge? Light Reading went to the annual Cisco Live conference to find out.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Connected Russia

7|13|16   |     |   (0) comments


At UBBS World Tour 2016, Alla Shabelnikova of Ovum shares the findings of a white paper outlining the challenges and opportunities of broadband rollout in Russia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Global Video Business

7|13|16   |     |   (0) comments


At UBBS World Tour 2016, Roger Feng of Huawei shares insights on the future of video business.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
UBBS World Tour Moscow Highlights

7|13|16   |     |   (0) comments


At UBBS World Tour 2016 at Moscow, Huawei showcases its outstanding progress in video technology.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
September 27, 2016, Philadelphia, PA
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Five of the Top 10 most targeted countries in Check Point Software Technologies' global Malware & Threat Index for Q1 2016 are in Africa.
Hot Topics
SoftBank Muscles In on ARM in $32B Deal
Iain Morris, News Editor, 7/18/2016
Ericsson 'Doubles' Savings Goal as Sales Slump
Iain Morris, News Editor, 7/19/2016
Kevin Lo's Move to Facebook: Sign of Things to Come?
Patrick Donegan, Chief Analyst, Heavy Reading, 7/20/2016
Facebook Gets Its Drone On
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/22/2016
Is Dish Going Down the Drain?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 7/21/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
I've enjoyed interviewing many interesting people since I rejoined Light Reading, but William A. "Bill" Owens certainly takes the biscuit, as we say where I come from.
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.