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University of Maine Rolling Out Ultra-High-Speed Gigabit Community Network

The University of Maine and its surrounding communities will soon have access to an ultra-high-speed gigabit Internet network. The project, called Gigabit Main Street, is being built by GWI and will provide business and residential customers in the Old Town and Orono communities with 125 times faster download speeds and 1,000 times faster upload speeds than current offerings.

In 2011, UMaine joined the University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, also known as Gig.U, which is a group of 37 research universities from across the United States. The goal of Gig.U is to "accelerate the deployment of ultra-high-speed networks to leading U.S. universities and their surrounding communities." With this Gigabit Main Street Internet network, the University of Maine, GWI, and Gig.U are looking to to increase opportunities for innovation in the community and improve the local economy.

"The University of Maine is committed to serving as a catalyst for technological, economic, and job development in the state of Maine," said U Maine President Paul Ferguson in a prepared statement. "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."

The Gigabit Main Street network will use an open-access model, which means that GWI will install the optical fiber required to support the network and will make that infrastructure available to any service provider who wants to offer the ultra-high-speed service to its customers. The network will be built in two phases. Phase 1 will implement the network infrastructure in the downtown and business districts of Old Town and Orono. Phase 2 will be an expansion of the service based on customer demand and network use.

"The 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," said Blair Levin, executive director of the national Gig.U initiative.

Gigabit Main Street will be the first gigabit Internet network available to both business and residential customers in Maine, and it will be one of the fastest business-residential networks in the United States.

The University of Maine serves more than 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States and more than 60 countries. The university is located in Orono, ME.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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