Gigabit City Challenge Issued By FCC's Julius Genachowski
January 21, 2013

FCC Chairman Wants Gigabit Internet Connections In All States By 2015

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Last week FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, friend to the Internet and connected lifestyle, issued a call to have gigabit Internet connections in all 50 states by 2015. At the US Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting on Friday, Genachowski asked the city leaders in attendance to have at least one community with access to this new, ultra-fast Internet connection. Called the “Gigabit City Challenge,” Genachowski hopes quickening the speed at which we connect on the Internet will also quicken the pace of industry and the local economies.

“American economic history teaches a clear lesson about infrastructure. If we build it, innovation will come,” said Genachowski in a statement last Friday.

“The US needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness.”

As it stands, there are about 42 communities in 14 states which have access to gigabit Internet connections, including Google´s connections in Kansas City and the US Ignite Network-inspired service in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

These 1 gigabit connections are just as fast as they sound, offering speeds up to 100 times faster than the average high speed Internet connection, according to the FCC. With such speedy streams, these connections can more than handle the heavy lifting of today´s most advanced online activities, such as video conferencing and multiple simultaneous streams.

Genachowski´s Gigabit City Challenge is a noble one, and could very well help boost local economies whenever it is rolled out. Yet, the FCC has only said they´ll issue the challenge as well as some online documentation about “best practices” to use by local officials when rolling out such a network. These “online clearing houses” will help cities by sharing “information about how to lower the costs and increase the speed of broadband deployment nationwide,” according to the FCC press release. The FCC has also pledged to hold workshops to educate the public about these speedy connections and encourage local leaders to work with one another to tailor these networks for the community.

Though they´re more than willing to dole out information, the FCC won´t be giving money to these communities to help build out these networks, which can be an expensive venture. Following Genachowski´s challenge at the Conference of Mayors meeting, some mayors gave their thumbs up in approval of such a measure. San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee said in a statement he hopes these workshops and online clearing houses will help roll out gigabit connections to his communities.

"Expanding high-speed, broadband Internet is a goal that directly supports San Francisco's economic development strategy," said Mayor Lee in a statement, according to CNET.

“The innovation economy of the 21st century that thrives in our City depends on creating a connected country, and the FCC's efforts will help provide needed technological advancement that will create jobs and benefit the residents of San Francisco."