Techpad Launches Public Gigabit Wi-Fi Network

  • FitNet
  • TechPad
  • US Ignite
BLACKSBURG, VA – TechPad, a co-working space dedicated to software startups, announced the launch of the world’s first public gigabit Wi-Fi network. The project is a result of the community successfully using crowd funding to install a gigabit fiber network with public Wi-Fi. To achieve gig speeds, the user needs an 802.11ac adapter which is limited to a few devices. Those who cannot access the gig speed will get 5 Mbps symmetrical free in the downtown area.

Fundraising exceeded the goals of the organizers which has enabled this breakthrough deployment of advanced wireless technology built on the foundation of a gigabit fiber network. A total of $92,400 was raised by 181 individuals and nine corporate sponsors including: Modea, Cisco Meraki, VPT, 1901 Group, G3 Systems, Montgomery County, PK’s, Horner&Perks and New City Media.

Blacksburg is home to a growing Internet start-up community and Virginia Tech, a world-class engineering school. TechPad is a co-working space which has helped over three dozen software startups from its downtown Blacksburg location. A gigabit network connection is 100 times faster than the average Internet link and can boost productivity by 10 times or more for those who create in the cloud. Gigabit access is available now to the TechPad startup community plus Kent Square and is used to power a high performance gigabit Wi-Fi system in downtown Blacksburg. The first phase of the project has completed Wi-Fi access to most of downtown with gigabit access localized near TechPad. When completed dozens of gigabit access points will be available at key high traffic locations in the community.

"I am proud to join a growing number of community investors committed to Virginia's leadership in the jobs and industries of the future,” said Aneesh Chopra, Former U.S. CTO and Secretary of Technology, Commonwealth of Virginia. “Blacksburg did it before with the launch of Blacksburg Electronic Village and through today's announcement, I'm confident it will do so again!"

Application Development Drives Gigabit Networks
Applications are a significant driver for the use and deployment of gigabit networks. TechPad is home to FitNet, a nationally recognized gigabit application of the future by US Ignite and the Mozilla Foundation for its use of gigabit technology. Area entrepreneurs and researchers will benefit from this deployment as they imagine and invent on the state of the art network. FitNet and Virginia Tech researchers recently received a $300,000 grant from NSF to explore further the use of fitness applications on advanced networks.

“A year ago my team and I moved to Chattanooga to experience firsthand how gigabit software applications could change the world,” said Bob Summers, CEO of FitNet and founder of TechPad. “Availability of affordable gigabit Internet attracts talented people, new ideas and funding to our community.”

The town of Blacksburg, TechPad and Virginia Tech recently joined US Ignite to commit their resources to growing a community with gigabit connectivity. Broadband access is a priority for the Blacksburg community and this project is a step forward toward to broader deployments.

"Blacksburg adds a critical dimension to the national US Ignite initiative by launching the first gigabit wireless city infrastructure,” said Dr. Glenn Ricart, Founder and CTO of US Ignite. “It will permit new mobile applications to take advantage of such cutting edge technologies as local cloud computing, software-defined networking, and human-computer interactions with imperceptible delay.”


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