A new public-private effort, the US Ignite Partnership, is launching today at the White House to capitalize on what is possible through virtualized, ultra-fast broadband networks, and “ignite” the development of next-generation Internet applications and services for societal benefit.
“Build the next generation Internet, and they will come,” says Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe, “but not without encouragement and a willingness to be surprised. In the 1970s, many doubted there were uses for even 50-kilobit-per-second Internet. But soon application explorers came up with remote login, file transfer, and email. Pioneers have since found new worlds in telephony, television, publishing, commerce and social interactivity. Today, while investing in gigabit generations of Internet, we are again sending out our application explorers.”
The primary goal of the US Ignite Partnership will be to catalyze approximately 60 advanced, next-gen applications over the next five years in six areas of national priority: education and workforce development, advanced manufacturing, health, transportation, public safety, and clean energy. Responsibilities of the Partnership will include connecting, convening, and supporting startups, local and state government, universities, industry leaders, federal agencies, foundations, and community and carrier initiatives in conceptualizing and building new applications. The resulting new applications should have a significant impact on the U.S. economy, including providing a broad range of job and investment opportunities.
A number of these applications are in development or early testing right now. “Today, in Cleveland, Ohio there are families receiving medical care to which they wouldn’t otherwise have access through advanced telemedicine built on a new and flexible ultra-fast network. In Chattanooga, Tenn., a dozen new startups are building new applications for everything from improved transportation to disaster response to a smart energy-grid by taking advantage of the city’s gigabit-to-the-home fiber optic network,” says US Ignite Executive Director Sue Spradley. “The future of technology as many think about it, is possible today. And through US Ignite, we’ll be helping to deploy advanced applications for Americans everywhere.”
The advanced technologies that will power the US Ignite initiative have been developed through the National Science Foundation’s GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovation) program and by US Ignite’s commercial partners. Flexibility is provided through the use of Software-Defined Networking. Speed is provided by symmetric ultra-fast connections. And “GENI Racks” power the low-latency, programmable local cloud capabilities available to US Ignite applications. “The combination of these three factors changes the game for applications developers,” said US Ignite Chief Technology Officer Glenn Ricart.
The US Ignite Partnership will be an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, funded through its member organizations, and will work collaboratively with its partners to implement a multi-pronged strategy.The Partnership was formed with leadership from the National Science Foundation in response to the Administration’s call to ensure all Americans have access to the information and tools necessary to thrive in a 21st-century economy.
The Partnership has already entered into agreements that will bring its efforts to 25 cities across the country, including small, medium and large municipalities. Additionally, there are over 15 commercial partners who have agreed to be part of the US Ignite Partnership, including telecommunications and network powerhouses alongside local single-community efforts.
“The US Ignite test bed, together with Verizon’s FiOS network, will give users in Philadelphia an altogether new ability to innovate on the fastest fiber to the home network in the United States. We welcome collaboration among users, entrepreneurs, practitioners and developers to drive the next wave of digital solutions to our most pressing societal challenges in health care, energy, education and more. Shining a bright light on the power of high-speed broadband can only result in shared experimentation and knowledge that will benefit users, the community and our country,” said Kathryn Brown, Verizon’s senior vice-president of Public Policy Development and Corporate Responsibility.
“We trust that as we succeed in demonstrating just how game-changing the next-generation of flexible, ultra-fast networks and the applications they enable can be, hundreds of new companies and communities will join us,” concluded Executive Director Spradley.