Paving the Way for Widespread 1-gigabit Broadband in Mid-Michigan

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The Prima Civitas Foundation (PCF), a statewide economic development nonprofit, is leading the coordinated effort to make the Greater Lansing region a “Gig.U” community. The Greater Lansing Gig.U project is part of a national effort called The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, or “Gig.U.” Gig.U asked university communities from across the country to invite private sector companies to bring next-generation networks and services to their communities as a tool to attract knowledge economy companies and talent.

Gig.U is a broad-based group of 37 universities and communities across the country working in an effort to accelerate the deployment of ultra high-speed networks to universities and their surrounding communities. The Project is led by Blair Levin, Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program Fellow and former executive director of the National Broadband Plan, and Elise Kohn, formerly a policy advisor at the Federal Communications Commission.

PCF is currently meeting with local high-speed internet providers to determine which barriers, if reduced or eliminated, would entice private providers to invest in expanding high speed broadband networks in the region. PCF will then work with local municipalities to address barriers such as lengthy permitting procedures and restrictions on new broadband installation techniques. In addition, the Greater Lansing Gig.U initiative will also continue to raise awareness of the availability of high-speed service in the region, with an eye toward expanding such service throughout the community by increasing demand.

Several local areas have been identified as potential early adopters of ultra-high-speed internet due to their significant numbers of health care, engineering, and high-tech companies. These locations include:  

  • Downtown Lansing, the East Saginaw Street corridor, and East Lansing on and near the MSU campus.
  • The Capital Region International Airport “Aerotropolis” area.
  • The University Corporate Research Park at Collins and Forest roads, home to several bio-tech and other high tech businesses.
  • South Lansing spots near Cedar Street and I-96, where engineering and office operations are located.
  • Parts of the Hagadorn and Okemos roads corridors, home to many medical, engineering and other office complexes.

PCF created the Greater Lansing Gig.U Executive Committee to provide guidance and leadership necessary to move this initiative forward. Committee members include the Capital Area IT Council, City of East Lansing, Connect Michigan, Lansing Area Economic Partnership, Lansing Economic Development Corporation, Meridian Township Economic Development Corporation, Michigan State University, and the Prima Civitas Foundation.

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