NCNGN (Pronounced “NC Engine”) is seeking to be one of the first areas in the country to have reliable third party service providers delivering ultra-fast bandwidth at highly affordable prices. Much like Kansas City, which has commitments for 1 gigabit of speed at $70/month and 100 megabits of speed at $30/month to residential end users, NCNGN seeks to bring similar benefits to the citizens, workers, and businesses of Cary, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem.
Need: Bandwidth and high-speed access are the technological equivalents of highways and electricity. Contemporary and cutting-edge knowledge-based businesses and industries need bandwidth, fiber, an educated workforce, and a great place to live. Residents need universal access to broadband for communications, jobs, education, and entertainment. Current broadband speeds and pricing are insufficient to meet the growing demand of home businesses, telecommuters, healthcare, and other big data industries. Other regions have recognized this need and moved forward aggressively, including Kansas City, Chicago and Seattle. North Carolina should ensure residents and businesses alike are able to enjoy the benefits of the most advanced technologies available.
Premise: Communities surrounding universities provide, and will continue to provide, the kind of innovative culture that is the most prolific breeding ground for technology-based innovations. University communities also tend to have several market advantages: high residential and commercial density, higher bandwidth demands, and off-campus facilities located throughout the community.
Approach: Under the banner of the national Gig U initiative, four local universities and their surrounding communities joined together to initiate the development of open access, ultra high speed (1 Gigabit) bandwidth at very low price points to stimulate innovation, economic development, and improved access and education. This regional partnership, called NC Next Generation Networks (NCNGN), is composed of Cary, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem with the support of their Gig U partners of Duke University, NC State University, UNC Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University/Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center along with their associated Chambers of Commerce.
Since the summer of 2012, NCNGN has worked together to develop an RFP that will attract one or more commercial carriers to design, build, and manage one or more ultra-high speed networks in our region. This RFP will be released on February 1, 2013.
Community Benefits: Selected vendor(s) will provide high-speed Internet service over a wired or wireless network at a substantial discount from current market prices. Some of the participating communities will make existing technical assets, such as excess fiber, available at competitive prices in order to ensure this new network achieves the regional goals of reducing the digital divide, enhancing workforce knowledge and skills, promoting economic development, enhancing access for anchor institutions, and serving other targeted social purposes identified by the participating municipalities.