Thanks to Google and Microsoft, colleges and universities in the U.S. are able to take advantage of the Gig.U project, a partnership that’s bringing gigabit speeds to college campus communities.

This type of connection opens up a world of possibilities for colleges and their surrounding communities, and understandably, many of them are quite excited about the new development. Read on to check out 10 colleges that are part of the program, and find out what they plan to do with their new, super-fast connections.

  1. In the University of Florida neighborhood’s Innovation Square, it’s easy to get fiber these days, bringing a 50 Mbps connection to a 12-block area. With this blazing fast connection, the university is now able to offer labs and students faster connections on campus without any capacity constraints. Members of the university community are excited and believe that this new, faster connection could mean that “the next Facebook or Skype” might come out of a Gator dorm room.

  2. The University of Maine is excited about the infrastructure offered by Gig.U. University of Maine student Nate Wildes shared his excitement with the university community, explaining that the faster connection will allow The University of Maine and its surrounding areas to better share the groundbreaking knowledge that’s being developed with the rest of the world. Wildes also goes on to point out that the connection breaks down geographic barriers to business, knowledge sharing, academics, and beyond.

  3. Gig.U at Georgia Tech is being hailed as the creation of an innovative hub, allowing the school to be a part of creating the next generation of technologies. The new broadband offering will be supported (and used by) the Georgia Centers for Advanced Telecommunications Technology and Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. Georgia Tech is joined by North Georgia College & State University, which plans to bring gigabit Internet service to the North Georgia mountains.

  4. Penn State has signed on to bring Gig.U to its community, and plans to create life-changing possibilities with the new service. Some of the ideas coming out of the university include uninterrupted video conferencing, and even home health care robots. Beyond the university, the program will make it possible for overhaul the local Harris Township 911 system, adding a relocation of the call center and communication improvements.

  5. Michigan State is currently in talks to find a local service provider to agree to complete the last leg of fiber needed to bring 1 Gbps service to MSU and the Lansing area. Through the use of microtrenching, which buries fiber in just 10-inch deep trenches, the process of installation can be expedited. The MSU community hopes that this new development will allow them to not only offer 1-gigabit fiber to high-tech, health care, and engineering areas, but even go beyond high-tech corridors to offer broader availability.

  6. Case Western Reserve is one of the first Gig.U partners to actually go live with their new fiber network, and its first target is a nearby retirement community. In this community, they’re working to explore the impact that 1-gigabit fiber can bring to medicine, testing out applications including telemedicine, virtual medical care, and medication monitoring. But by now, we expect that Case Western is well-versed in what high speed connectivity has to offer: the university first built a fiber network in 1989.

  7. At UNC-Chapel Hill, a one-gigabit network just isn’t enough. When Larry Conrad, the campus technology chief, took over, he learned that instead of using the relatively fast network, researchers were physically walking discs and drives full of information to each other. Since then, the university has been upgraded to a 10-gigabit network, but they’re not stopping there. As part of the Gig.U project UNC plans to bring increased connectivity to the area surrounding campus, turning the UNC community into an even more attractive location for private companies to invest in.

  8. The University of Montana hopes to step up its distance learning offerings with its incoming 1-gig fiber network, allowing for an expanded statewide initiative, as well as more opportunities for students on campus to take advantage of online learning and resources. The university’s network will expand beyond campus grounds into the surrounding community, making it possible for students who live off campus to take advantage of the exceptional connectivity that they enjoy at the school. UM also hopes that with high-speed networks available in the area, more businesses will be interested in investing in the university community.

  9. Bringing Duke University on board the Gig.U project means that the surrounding community, often known as “The Triangle” can enjoy more resources for innovation and collaboration, furthering its legacy of more than 50 years as a research center. With a new, high speed connection, “research in real time” will be enabled, and as Duke hopes, create a favorable climate for next-generation test beds within the community.

  10. It’s good to live in the Stanford neighborhood. Thanks to the Google Fiber network, 850 homes in Stanford’s residential subdivision enjoy network speeds of up to one gigabit per second. Students and faculty members in the area are able to use it free of charge. Stanford was chosen for its openness to experimenting with new fiber technologies, and the layout and number of homes in the area. Plus, it sure doesn’t hurt that Stanford’s just a short distance away from Google HQ.



October 1, 2012