Tomorrow, Obama signs an executive order to begin implementing an ultra-high speed network across the US under the project name US Ignite. It’s similar to what Google Fiber has been toying with in Kansas City, but with a public services tilt. The 100Mbps+ low latency network will connect major centers across the US, building on existing connections between 300 researchers at 60 universities.
What makes Ignite stand out is a partnership with Mozilla and the National Science Foundation. The latter already has invested $20 million in funding to build upon tests being conducted by over 300 researchers at 60 universities. NSF is expanding on their $40 million development environment called GENI, or the Global Environment for Network Innovations, a testbed for networks.
The Ignite initiative is also launching Mozilla Ignite, a program seeking developers to produce apps for a public-facing services that will thrive on the ultra-fast broadband connection with up to 1 Gbps transmission speeds – equivalent 100 times faster than current speeds. Mainly, they’re seeking out services that will improve emergency response and medical applications like check-ups with 3D renders in realtime.
Part of the initiative is to roll out 60 prototype applications that will rely on ultra-fast network for supplying public service related assistance in the fields of healthcare, education, and workforce development.
But even with the relative speed and simplicity to get the project up and running, it will still have to overcome the larger obstacle of affordability. As the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy deputy director, Tom Kalil pointed out to Talking Points Memo, “More than 90 percent of households currently have the ability to subscribe to broadband, but only 68 percent actually do.”