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Gigabit Internet: Start Planning

Gigabit Internet access is key to the future of our cities. It's time to start expecting it and planning for it.

How will your city get gigabit fiber optic Internet access -- and how soon?

If your city council can't answer these questions, it's time to start working on them. Companies worldwide are competing with city networks to offer Web access much faster than the fastest average connections offered today.

Specifically, we're talking about access of one gigabit per second (1 Gbit/s). That's a market-changing rate, considering how it dramatically improves the speed at which users can download video, TV, games, medical applications and research files. So far, even the world's fastest Internet city -- Seoul -- offers a mean throughput rate of just 41.4 Mbit/s.

Across North America, where broadband rollout has been relatively slow, gigabit networks are popping up in a range of cities, thanks to public-private partnerships. Examples include Gigabit Chicago and Gigabit Seattle, projects undertaken by these cities and an Ohio company called Gigabit Squared, as well as Google Fiber, offered on both the Missouri and Kansas sides of Kansas City, and services in Vancouver supplied by OneGigabit.

There is also a gigabit service in Chattanooga, Tenn., offered by the local utility EPB. Ars Technica recently compiled a longer list of gigabit cities.

These services are the pride of cities lucky enough to get them. Among the benefits are residential access that's roughly an order of magnitude better than competing services. In Kansas City, Google's service has been credited with attracting a startup cluster. Ditto for Chattanooga and Seattle.

The challenge for cities, of course, is to get gigabit connectivity established. It's not easy. Fiber networking, the fundamental building block, is prohibitively costly for most cities, so government assistance, private donations, commercial backing and a lot of creativity are typically required to get a network in place. Even with these elements, success is far from guaranteed.

Read the rest of this article on Future Cities.

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User Rank: Apprentice
12/2/2013 | 8:50:30 AM
What wll customers do with all this bandwidth?

Download tens of pirate movies each day?

User Rank: Ninja
11/15/2013 | 9:23:38 PM
I'm ready
Having fiber pulled into 3 of or 5 locations I'm ready for gigabit connections as soon as my carriers are ready.  It was hard enough to get the fiber pulled for pipes much less than gigabit speeds but with prices dropping and the fact that I'm paying less for fiber today than I was paying for copper lines just a few years ago it's looking like the dream of super fast connections to the internet is coming true.  I don't even have to ask what they'll be used for, we do enough large file transfers to clients and site to site that this will pay off quickly for us.
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