- Digital Ecosystem
- Programs & Clients
by Mark Ansboury
Well we’re off! Yesterday we announced the first recipient of the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program (GNGP) in Chicago. This is the first recipient of approximately six communities and Gig.U Universities where Gigabit Squared will be bringing this exciting program.
What we love about the Chicago project is the tremendous number of partners we’ve brought together – from the University of Chicago, to communities like Woodlawn, state, city and county government, as well as hospitals and schools. Combine this with the private equity Gigabit Squared is bringing to the table, and this public/private partnership is a model for communities all over the nation to follow.
For the State’s part – they generously contribute $2 million towards the project through Governor Quinn’s “Gigabit Communities Challenge.” The governor’s passion for gigabit-speed broadband is rooted in its importance for “our education, health care, law enforcement, economic development, and for many other applications and opportunities.”
Our Gig.U Partner for this initiative is Robert J. Zimmer, President of the University of Chicago, spoke of how he was excited to have gigabit speeds in the area to help foster innovation. Their commitment is substantial as they are putting $1 million towards the project today and are working to raise another $1 million.
Blair Levin, the Executive Director of Gig.U, renown for his work crafting the National Broadband Plan, and our partner in the formation of the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program, was also in attendance for this exciting announcement. Blair spoke of how local leadership is key, including from Governor Quinn, who he dubbed America’s Broadband Governor. Blair went on to praise the City’s recognition that gigabit broadband – and fostering innovation – would be key to Chicago’s prosperity just as being a railroad hub was 100 years ago. And finally, Blair praised the University of Chicago for understanding that high performance knowledge exchange needs to extend into the community – and he wrapped it up thanking Gigabit Squared for our leadership in building a 21st century network that will support the information economy.
And finally, my partner Bob and I had a chance to speak about why we’re so excited about this project in Chicago. Bob talks about “digital economic development,” bringing technology innovation and community engagement together to foster new economic activity and development opportunities.
As we both reflected, this is a culmination of what we’ve been working on for more than a year as well as our passion to create digital inclusion.
We’re excited to see how GNGP will create innovation, economic opportunity, jobs and empowerment throughout Chicago by deploying gigabit speed broadband. And at the same time, Chicago will see increased educational opportunities, better healthcare for residents of the Mid-South, and increased entrepreneurship.
We’re thrilled to be starting this transformative program in Chicago, and we cannot wait to bring to additional communities. Stay tuned!
More Video Clips from Event…
Felicia Davis, City of Chicago
Cook County’s Lydia Murray
Bruce Montgomery of Partnership for Connected Illinois