UTOPIA joins US Ignite Effort

June 16th, 2012

Salt Lake City (June 15, 2012) – UTOPIA, the consortium of Utah cities building an open-access fiber-optic network, has teamed with the US Ignite Partnership, launched yesterday 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 American businesses and families.

“At UTOPIA, we strongly believe that providing advanced telecommunications infrastructure that supports improved connectivity for the state’s residents, businesses and cities is critical to enhance quality of life, drive economic development, link crucial municipal facilities, and remain competitive in the worldwide race to build the technological underpinnings of our new information-based economy,” says Todd Marriott, Executive Director of UTOPIA.  “UTOPIA is already at the forefront of making that happen for Utahns. Just this week, UTOPIA became the first in Utah, and one of only a handful of communities nationwide, to offer an ultrahigh-speed one-gigabit connection to residents. This type of speed, about 200 times faster than the typical broadband connection of 5 megabits per second, along with US Ignite’s efforts to spur next generation capabilities, will eventually enable an entirely new realm of applications and technologies we can’t even imagine today—and won’t be able to live without tomorrow.”

The primary goal of the US Ignite Partnership will be to catalyze approximately 60 advanced, next-gen applications over the next five years in six areas of national priority: education and workforce development, advanced manufacturing, health IT, transportation, public safety, and clean energy. Responsibilities of the Partnership will include connecting, convening, and supporting startups, local and state government, universities, industry leaders, federal agencies, foundations, and community and carrier initiatives in conceptualizing and building new applications.  The resulting new applications should have a significant impact on the US economy, including providing a broad range of job and investment opportunities.

The advanced technologies that will power the US Ignite initiative have been developed through the National Science Foundation’s GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovation) program and by US Ignite’s commercial partners.  Flexibility is provided through the use of Software-Defined Networking.  Speed is provided by symmetric ultra-fast connections.  And “GENI Racks” power the low-latency, programmable local cloud capabilities available to US Ignite applications.  “The combination of these three factors changes the game for applications developers,” said US Ignite CTO Dr. Glenn Ricart.

The Partnership has already entered into agreements that will bring its efforts to 25 cities across the country, including small, medium and large municipalities. Additionally, there are over 15 commercial partners who have agreed to be part of the US Ignite Partnership, including UTOPIA.

“We are very excited about this partnership and hope to further efforts we have already begun to implement through a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program federal grant to connect about 400 community anchor institutions, including government facilities, schools, libraries, and health care facilities,” says UTOPIA’s Marriott. “We are 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.”