Today at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski called for at least one gigabit community in all 50 states by 2015. Challenging broadband providers and state and municipal community leaders to come together to meet this "Gigabit City Challenge," Chairman Genachowski said that establishing gigabit communities nationwide will accelerate the creation of a critical mass of markets and innovation hubs with ultra-fast Internet speeds. Chairman Genachowski said, "American economic history teaches a clear lesson about infrastructure. If we build it, innovation will come.
The U.S. needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness." Speeds of one gigabit per second are approximately 100 times faster than the average fixed high-speed Internet connection.
At gigabit speeds, connections can handle multiple streams of large-format, high- definition content like online video calls, movies, and immersive educational experiences. Networks cease to be hurdles to applications, so it no longer matters whether medical data, high-definition video, or online services are in the same building or miles away across the state. Gigabit communities spur innovators to create new businesses and industries, spark connectivity among citizens and services, and incentivize investment in high-tech industries. Today, approximately 42 communities in 14 states are served by ultra-high-speed fiber Internet providers, according to the Fiber to the Home Council.
To help communities meet the Gigabit City Challenge, Chairman Genachowski announced plans to create a new online clearinghouse of best practices to collect and disseminate information about how to lower the costs and increase the speed of broadband deployment nationwide, including to create gigabit communities. At the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, Chairman Genachowski proposed working jointly with the U.S. Conference of Mayors on the best-practices clearinghouse effort. Chairman Genachowski also announced that the FCC will hold workshops on gigabit communities.
The workshops will convene leaders from the gigabit community ecosystem-including broadband providers, and state and municipal leaders- to evaluate barriers, increase incentives, and lower the costs of speeding gigabit network deployment.