Gig.U Network Announcement: University of Maine

  • Gig.U
ORONO, ME – The University of Maine announced that GWI, an independent ISP in Maine, plans to build an ultra-high-speed, open-access network in the Old Town and Orono communities that surround the University of Maine campus. The network, whose goal is to drive innovation and create economic opportunity, will give the two Maine communities an Internet network as fast as any in the world and will be one of the fastest business-residential networks in the United States.

The new network will be the first gigabit Internet network commercially available to both business and residential customers in the state of Maine. The University of Maine is one of the fastest-moving members of the nationwide Gig.U initiative. Gig.U — The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project — is a group of 37 U.S. research universities that seeks to accelerate the deployment of ultra-high-speed networks to leading U.S. universities and their surrounding communities.

“The University of Maine is committed to serving as a catalyst for technological, economic and job development in the state of Maine,” says UMaine President Paul Ferguson. “This new Gigabit Main Street network is a perfect example of how we intend to bring people from the public and private sector and the university community together to drive innovation and create economic opportunity.”

Blair Levin, executive director of the national Gig.U initiative, notes that the University of Maine was one of the first institutions to sign up to participate in Gig.U and is now one of the first to move forward, in partnership with GWI, to make the idea of Gig.U a reality in Old Town and Orono, Maine.

Strategic Bandwidth Advantage
“This GWI Gigabit Main Street deployment will not just benefit the University of Maine community; it will provide Orono, Old Town and the state of Maine with the strategic bandwidth advantage necessary to lead in the next generation of broadband innovation,” Levin says.

“GWI has always worked to bring innovation and technology together in a way that creates economic opportunity for Maine people,” says Fletcher Kittredge, CEO of GWI. “We were proud to partner with the University to bring the Three Ring Binder network to Maine, [a stimulus-funded middle-mile project] which runs from Kittery to Fort Kent and is now owned and run by Maine Fiber Company. And we are glad to be here today marking another first: The first Gigabit Main Street network available to both business and residential customers in the state of Maine. This network will be open-access for any company that wants to offer service to customers, and we hope our success here in Old Town and Orono will lead to the development of other networks and increased economic opportunity in university and rural communities across our state.”

“GWI’s Gigabit Main Street network is a great development for businesses in Old Town and Orono,” says Brian Rahill, CEO of RainStorm Consulting, a software development company in Orono that will be one of the first area businesses to benefit from the initiative. “Having the ability to plug into gigabit network speeds is going to give my company and others in the area a competitive advantage, allowing us to connect seamlessly with clients across the country via high-definition videoconference and remote presentations. We will continue to grow and add jobs right here in Orono without having to move to a bigger market in Maine or beyond.”

The Orono-Old Town Gigabit Main Street Network, Powered By GWI
GWI’s Orono-Old Town Gigabit Main Street network will be built out over two initial phases based on customer demand and network use. Phase 1 will quickly build out and reach downtown districts and business-heavy parts of both Old Town and Orono. Phase 2 will expand on Phase 1, based on demand and population density.

The network will be built on an open-access model, meaning that GWI will install optical fiber to businesses and homes and make its network infrastructure available to any service provider that wants to offer service to customers on the network.

The difference in performance for customers on the network will be comparable to the move from dial-up to current “broadband” speeds – but service will be delivered at roughly the same price as current services. Residential customers will have access to download speeds approximately 125 times faster than current broadband services, with as much bandwidth upstream as downstream – a thousandfold improvement over today's residential connections.

Home users will be able to stream multiple high-definition videos simultaneously, share high-definition videos and pictures with ease and make clearer phone calls. GWI will begin offering residential service on the Gigabit Main Street network for $59.95 per month for a quarter gigabit and $89.95 for a full gigabit.

Business customers will gain access to a faster, more reliable broadband network that supports supports skip-free, clear, high-definition videoconferencing, high-quality VoIP and seamless integration of cloud computing solutions. Business pricing will be similarly consistent with current market rates and determined on an individual basis per normal industry practice.

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