Gig.U’s speedier Internet
Los Angeles Times
July 30, 2011
College campuses are shielded from many of the ugly realities of the outside world, such as dead-end jobs, underwater mortgages and pokey Internet connections. Now, a group of research universities wants to bring one of their perks — blazing fast Internet access — to the communities that surround them. They’re trying to persuade telecommunications companies to use the towns as test beds for broadband services almost 200 times faster than today’s average connection. The goal of the effort, dubbed Gig.U, is to spur a leap in broadband technologies and the services they enable. Although it’s something of a “Field of Dreams” notion, the project could help the country surmount one of the biggest obstacles to a truly high-speed Internet.
The “Gig” in Gig.U stands for gigabit, as in 1 billion bits of information per second. That’s fast enough to download two high-definition movies in about a minute, or the equivalent of the entire Library of Congress in less than a day. The average home connects to the Net at 5 million bits per second. Although Internet providers are technically capable of delivering 1 gigabit service, they’re not offering it to homes because they don’t think there’s any demand for it.
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