Wednesday, June 20, 2012

White House Announces "US Ignite"

The White House has announced a new public-private partnership called “US Ignite”. The partnership will work with nearly 100 partners including more than 25 cities, 60 national research universities, as well as federal agencies, industry, and non-profit entities to take advantage of state-of-the-art programmable broadband networks running up to 100 times faster than today’s internet.

Today, more and more of the nation’s broadband infrastructure is capable of moving huge amounts of information quickly and in novel, programmable ways. However, software developers have been unable to create applications that take full advantage of this new capacity. This is in part because potential user communities such as hospitals have lacked the means to coordinate their needs with developers’ capabilities.

The US Ignite Partnership will create a national network of communities and campuses with ultra-fast programmable broadband services operating at speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. This network will become a test bed for designing and deploying next generation applications to support national priorities such as education, healthcare, energy, and advanced manufacturing.

The new Partnership will challenge students, startups, and industry leaders to create a new generation of applications and services to meet the needs of local communities while creating a broad range of jobs and investment opportunities.

So far, the federal departments and agencies have made commitments to the Partnership:

  • The National Science Foundation is committing $20 million to prototype and then deploy new technologies to advance the development of ultra-high speed programmable broadband networks. NSF has already invested $40 million over four years in the Global Environment for Networking Innovations (GENI) project, which is currently connecting more than a dozen universities with next-generation broadband connections

  • NTIA within the Department of Commerce has announced that six of its project grantees are joining the US Ignite initiative. These grantees have been building and upgrading broadband infrastructure, expanding and improving public computer centers, and bringing more Americans online everyday

  • The Rural Utilities Service within USDA announced that rural communities and anchor institutions connected to ultra-high-speed broadband networks may now qualify for financing under the RUS telecommunications and broadband loan programs

  • With the help of FCC’s rural healthcare program, the Missouri Telehealth Network plans to lend its expertise to a partnership with researchers and network experts at the University of Missouri. These researchers are working on a project to gather data from in-home sensor networks in a senior living facility to provide remotely located nursing staff with early alerts of changes

  • The Office of the National Coordinator has announced that the Southeast Minnesota Beacon Community is going to work with Mayo Clinic as a new partner for the US Ignite initiative and will be expanding this program through a regional telemedicine network

  • The Department of Defense has identified the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) as an ideal national test bed to accelerate the development and deployment of ultra-high-speed bandwidth applications

  • Through the Department of Energy’s National Training & Education Resource, DOE is going to support the NSF/Mozilla US Ignite application competition to help create new workforce online training tools and apps

  • The Delta Regional Authority an independent Federal agency focused on economic development in the Mississippi River Delta region, will pilot a workforce development facility in the region to use next generation networking technologies to develop workforce virtualization

For more information, go to