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MSU, Lansing on track for high speed internet

July 12, 2012

Through the Greater Lansing University Community Next Innovation Project, or Gig.U, MSU and Greater Lansing are on track to having a one-gigabit-per-second Internet connection available to all students and community members.

The local Gig.U initiative is part of the national University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, working to connect communities around universities with the students and school.

The project was first introduced in February by the Greater Lansing Gig.U coalition, which includes the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the Prima Civitas Foundation, or PCF, 325 E. Grand River Ave., Connect Michigan, MSU and other regional collaborators.

At a press conference Thursday, groups developing the project gave an update on the progress of Gig.U and some new features to the project.

The Gigabit Ready project was announced, with plans to aid local businesses and communities in expanding their network to high-speed, or gigabit, broadband. The Gigabit Certified building program was also revealed at the conference, which will provide businesses already taking advantage of the gigabit speed the chance to certify their area.

Tremaine Phillips, chief program officer for PCF said the Gigabit Certified building program will supply buildings with a sign to be displayed in the window to inform people they are gigabit certified, making the business more attractive to others.

“If we have this sign in every window, students will know they are connected and that level of service is ready,” Phillips said.

Many apartment complexes and residences around MSU’s campus have already teamed up with DTN Management Co. and Spartan-Net to provide tenants with ultra-high-speed Internet. Cedar Village is the most recent residence complexes to upgrade to the new broadband network, Richard Laing, chief information officer for DTN and operations officer for Spartan-Net, said.

Laing said more areas around campus are gradually upgrading and getting connected with the community.

“We are all committed to creating (a parallel) network with MSU and residents who use DTN for internet connection,” Laing said. “We want to bring the network up to gigabit (speed) because they need and demand it.”

Phillips said the goal is to encourage Spartan-Net and DTN to expand their networks as fast and as far as possible.

“Students want this,” Phillips said. “This is a great thing for students. You want to have a student to move from school to across the street to a DTN apartment or home and have the same high speed the had at school.”

Alumnus Jack Nowakowski attended the press conference Thursday because he is currently interning at PCF, and he said the initiative is exciting for him because high-speed internet is important to have.

“I work a lot from home, I would not have been able to do that without high-speed internet (at) home,” Nowakowski said. “(It) allows you to do school work and work effectively, quickly and efficiently.”

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