Statement of Blair Levin, Executive Director of Gig.U

Statement of Blair Levin, Executive Director of Gig.U

Today, six North Carolina communities, joining with four research universities, have issued a Request for Proposals to build the “North Carolina Next Generation Network” (NC NGN). The initiative is designed to support educational and economic development by accelerating the deployment of ultra high-speed internet access.

On behalf of all the members of Gig.U, I want to congratulate our colleagues for their outstanding efforts. As a number of high profile thought leaders have recently noted, the United States needs to step up our efforts in the global bandwidth race. FCC Chairman Genachowski has challenged communities across the country to take steps to catalyze an upgrade to world-leading networks, a challenge we welcome. As we’ve seen with Gig.U and elsewhere, communities are willing partners in these endeavors, working to create favorable environments for potential investments.

The NC NGN is the first regional effort to grow out of the Gig.U initiative. It builds on lessons learned from Gig.U and other related projects, offering potential providers both access to inputs that help lower deployment costs and the scale necessary for economic success. It is an open process, offering incumbents, new entrants, and creative partnerships an opportunity to bring world-leading networks to an area known for its world-leading research capabilities. We hope that just as these communities have stepped up to meet the Chairman’s challenge, now the providers will also step up to the challenge and work with these communities to provide our country a strategic bandwidth advantage.

NC NGN has the potential to be a tremendous engine for the North Carolina economy in the 21st Century, just as the Research Triangle Park was for the latter half of the 20th Century. This effort is a testament to the tremendous vision, leadership skills, and hard work of so many in the communities and universities in the region.