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Cleveland Businesses to Get Fat Pipe

The city gets government funding to upgrade a municipal network to help support existing businesses and attract new ones.

Jason Meyers

November 21, 2014

3 Min Read
Cleveland Businesses to Get Fat Pipe

Thanks to a federal grant and municipal funding, Cleveland-based companies could soon be doing business over a 100Gbit/s network that will be built by public/private partnership.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA), a bureau of the US Department of Commerce, has awarded the city $700,000 toward a total $1.2 million project to build a commercial 100G network link through downtown Cleveland to the city's University Circle area. The nonprofit broadband entity OneCommunity -- which, together with the City of Cleveland, is providing the remaining funding for the project -- will oversee construction and operation of the network.

OneCommunity already operates a 2,500-mile fiber network in Northeast Ohio. The new 100G extension of that will connect the Idea Center in Cleveland's Playhouse Square downtown sector to Case Western Reserve University, says Brett Lindsey, chief operating officer for OneCommunity.

"We're going to be installing Juniper 100Gig equipment at each of those two node sites and tying in existing and new fiber assets," he says.

The effort is another example of municipalities seeking partners in an effort to jump-start high-speed network investment in their cities, particularly when city officials believe commercial providers aren't doing as much as they could be. (See Utility-Backed Gigabit is Going to Jackson, Connecticut Cities Crowdsource Gigabit Nets and Should Your City Be a Broadband Provider?)

"The idea is to help drive economic development to the Health-Tech Corridor," Lindsey says. "Cleveland has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to bring the region back to life."

For the latest on urban network innovation, visit Light Reading's dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel. And watch for forthcoming details on Light Reading's Gigabit Cities Live event, to be held in May 2015 in Atlanta.

The HTC is a 1,600-acre area with around 130 businesses, many in healthcare and technology sectors, says HTC Director Jeff Epstein. "This is critical infrastructure that will enable those businesses to grow and attract new businesses," he says, noting that 100G capacity makes possible more applications in telemedicine, big data transmission, medical imaging and next-gen videoconferencing.

"This really is a network that is about the art of the possible," Epstein says. "We don't know what the huge innovation on 100-Gigabit is going to be, but now we have the infrastructure here to support it."

The 100G network will specifically target 17 different parcels of land and buildings in the region where the city is working to attract development and business investment, but all businesses in the area will have access to the network, Lindsey says.

One major goal of the project is new job creation. Lindsey says the EDA requires grant recipients to supply new job forecasts, and the City of Cleveland has forecast hundreds of new jobs as a result of this network expansion. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams both spoke at a press conference today in Cleveland announcing the 100G network.

— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jason Meyers

Executive Editor

Jason Meyers joined the editorial staff of Light Reading in 2014 with more than 20 years of experience covering a broad range of business sectors. He is responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in the Internet of Things (IoT), Gigabit Cities and utility communications areas. He previously was Executive Editor of Entrepreneur magazine, overseeing all editorial operations, assignments and editorial staff for the monthly business publication. Prior to that, Meyers spent 15 years on the editorial staff of the former Telephony magazine, including eight years as Editor in Chief.

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