UTOPIA Contributes to National Partnership to Accelerate Adoption of Next-Generation Networks

June 14th, 2012

Todd Marriott, Executive Director of UTOPIA, is in Washington, D.C., today to participate in a White House event which will announce new steps in support of President Obama’s plan for expanding and improving access to broadband technology for American homes and businesses.

At this event, US Ignite, a public-private partnership, will be introduced that aims to speed the development of applications that can operate on next-generation broadband networks in domains such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, emergency preparedness, and public safety.

As part of the US Ignite effort, UTOPIA, using a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Federal grant, will connect about 400 community anchor institutions, including government facilities, schools, libraries, and healthcare facilities. UTOPIA is also coordinating with the University of Utah to enhance the statewide Utah Education Network by connecting schools, libraries, and Head Start centers, and partnering with the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Transit Authority to further link public facilities.

From the US IGNITE press release:

A new public-private effort, the US Ignite Partnership, is launching today at the White House to capitalize on what is possible through virtualized, ultra-fast broadband networks, and “ignite” the development of next-generation Internet applications and services for societal benefit.

“Build the next generation Internet, and they will come,” says Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe, “but not without encouragement and a willingness to be surprised. In the 1970s, many doubted there were uses for even 50-kilobit-per-second Internet. But soon application explorers came up with remote login, file transfer, and email. Pioneers have since found new worlds in telephony, television, publishing, commerce and social interactivity. Today, while investing in gigabit generations of Internet, we are again sending out our application explorers.”

The US Ignite Partnership will be an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, funded through its member organizations, and will work collaboratively with its partners to implement a multi-pronged strategy. The Partnership was formed with leadership from the National Science Foundation in response to the Administration’s call to ensure all Americans have access to the information and tools necessary to thrive in a 21st-century economy.

Over the next five years, the US Ignite Partnership intends to accomplish the following goals:

1. Foster the creation of 60 next-generation applications, built specifically to take advantage of ultrafast networks, by working with sponsors and partners to enable application hackdays, competitions, and conferences, as well as an ongoing collaborative community.

2. Provide 200 community test beds for testing and deploying next-gen applications by coordinating the deployment of new infrastructure of Ignite’s partners – including telcos, cable companies, municipalities, research and education network operators, and others.

3. Provide a forum for coordination and best-practice sharing among industry, foundations, government, telecommunications carriers, research and education networks, cities and regions, researchers, venture capitalists, and software developers.