Louisville Wants To Build A City-Wide Gigabit Network

    November 14, 2013
    Zach Walton
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Since Google Fiber hit the scene in 2012, more and more cities have taken interest in the idea of building gigabit networks for their businesses and citizens. Now one of the country’s biggest commercial hubs is calling for a city-wide gigabit network.

Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, sent out a notice this morning calling on private entities and organizations to help his city build a gigabit network. He says that the city needs to upgrade its network because the Internet is now “critical urban infrastructure.”

“We’re throwing open the doors and asking the world to bring us their ideas to connect our city with very high speed fiber,” Fischer said. “Availability of and access to a high-speed broadband network has quickly become viewed as critical urban infrastructure, similar to electricity, water and roadways. Today’s current network speeds do not provide an adequate foundation to propel the city forward in a technology-based economy.”

Interestingly enough, Fischer doesn’t just want faster Internet. He has three goals for his proposed gigabit network:

  • Creating a world-leading gigabit-capable network across the city or in targeted commercial corridors, as well as in residential areas with demonstrated demand, to foster innovation, drive job creation and stimulate economic growth;
  • Provide free or heavily-discounted gigabit 100MB (minimum) internet service over a wired or wireless network to underserved and disadvantaged residents across Louisville;
  • Deliver gigabit internet service at prices comparable to other gigabit fiber communities across the nation.
  • The second goal is by far the most ambitious and one that even Google Fiber hasn’t touched. Google only offers 5Mbps down/1Mbps up for free if the subscriber pays the initial $300 construction fee. Fischer’s plan would offer 100Mbps Internet to underprivileged families at low cost or free. It may not be 1Gbps Internet, but 100Mbps would still be faster than the national average.

    Louisville residents shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet though as Fischer is now only gauging interest among private companies and organizations. This project has more chances of succeeding than others though due solely to the fact that the city is willing to allow a company to use the city’s right-of-ways to build out the fiber network.

    Interested parties have until January 31 to respond to Fischer’s request. We’ll find out then if Louisville will be the next American city to join the gigabit party.

    [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

    • Cris

      Saying I have a gigabit, or even a 100 megabit line to the world would be nice to be able to brag about, but if given the choice I’d much rather have a low-cost/high-speed solution for connecting my remote offices together. There’s almost no service on the Internet who serves out their data anywhere near gigabit speeds, let alone one tenth of that; your Fifty-Dot-Oh is only that much pipe up to your ISP’s door…once you’re past their network then you’re at the mercy of the rest of the servers on the Web (or any of the potentially 30+ networks in between) and they’re not letting their data go out that fast.
      Yes, offering blazing high-speed Internet would be cool and all but I really think the benefit, for businesses at least, would come in being able to connect multiple offices here in town over that same fiber. And I don’t mean connection via VPN over Internet, which adds wrappers or extra data to the packets and increases the required processing power and complexity of the networking systems involved. I mean the ability to connect these offices with a Point-to-Point or MPLS-type of service so that WAN networks could better leverage technologies like real-time (or near to) server replication for the purposes of high availability/disaster recovery and load-balancing, or VoIP systems which require high-speed connection (low latency, not necessarily high bandwidth). Not to mention the scores of other benefits to being able to connect buildings with fiber.

      Anyone else?

    • Interesting

      All this technology is going to enslave America. All this will do is make spying on you faster. You do realize that is the goal of this right? They eventually want to put a camera and facial recognition in every camera and run that software 24 hours a day 7 days a week. To do this you need a) capacity and b) speed.

      Really think about this America. Within 20 years, there won’t be a place that you can go and no be monitored. You will have micro drones in the sky, GPS in your car, a camera on every street corner and in every building and in every house. All connected by high speed networks with tremendous capacity.

      I will be dead by then probably, but oh, how I worry about our children. That is a recipe for control.