2011/07/27

Google Fiber KCK: Collaborating With GigU

One key to success for the Google Fiber KCK project (Kansas City, Kansas) will be collaborating with other ultra high-speed networks. The GigU project, currently involving 28 USA universities, is one good potential collaborator for KCK to connect with and discuss ways to effectively work together.

A recent article about GigU gives an overview of what the project is and what it hopes to accomplish:
"A coalition of 28 American universities is throwing its weight behind a plan to build ultra-high-speed computer networks -- with Internet service several hundred times faster than what is now commercially available -- in the communities surrounding the participating colleges...GigU...is meant to draw high-tech startups in fields like health care, energy and telecommunications to the areas near the universities, many of which are in the Midwest or outside of major cities...By offering one-gigabit network connections...not just to scientific researchers and engineers but to the homes and businesses that surround universities, the group aims to create a digital ecosystem that will attract new companies, ideas and educational models..."
The GigU project can present three scenarios to Google Fiber KCK:
  1. An opportunity for collaboration
  2. A gigabit community competitor
  3. An incentive for a Google Fiber KCK fast launch
Opportunity - Connecting with Blair Levin, Lev Gonick and others involved with GigU will expand the personal networks of KCK residents, researchers and business owners to a wide spectrum of other gigabit Internet users. Numerous benefits of gigabit access will be gained by KCK people from connecting with other people and organizations within the KC (Kansas City) metro Google Fiber network. However, some of the potential benefits of the Google Fiber super speedy system will be available only by connecting with others outside KC. A related collaboration opportunity is to connect with participants from the US Ignite Gigabit Applications Workshop, an event co-hosted by the National Science Foundation.

Competitor - When the Google Fiber KCK system is activated in 2012, KCK will be one of the few communities in the USA where symmetric gigabit Internet access is available at a competitive price. The availability of this uber fast connection to the 'net can be marketed to tech entrepreneurs, innovators, companies and researchers as a strong reason to relocate to KCK. However, if those entrepreneurs and innovators from outside KCK have 20 or 50 other communities to choose from which also have gigabit Internet, the number of people who chose to relocate to KCK will be significantly lower. Communities which participate in the GigU project will be competing with KCK for people and companies willing to relocate because of ultra high-speed networks.

Incentive - Because the GigU project is in the early stages of development, the Google Fiber KCK initiative will likely have some breathing room to get established before the GigU communities light up their fiber. This means that if Google Fiber KCK gets off to a quick start and has early successes, it can build a track record which attracts potential Internet immigrants. However, KCK needs to quickly develop a Fast Launch plan for Google Fiber and communicate that plan to residents of KC and to people considering becoming residents of KCK. GigU lends a sense of urgency to getting off to a good start with Google Fiber KCK, and that's a good thing!

In the long run, one of the benefits of the Google Fiber KCK project and GigU will be to raise the bar for Internet providers throughout the USA (and globally). In the short run, the GigU project can benefit KCK greatly both by being a collaboration partner and by providing a good reason to have a fast and effective launch for the Google Fiber KCK initiative.

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