Louisville Wants To Build A City-Wide Gigabit Network

    November 14, 2013

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]