Gig U. No, no. It's nothing dirty

✔✔ The New York Times reports this morning that Duke and 27 other universities are joining to build ultra-high speed computer networks -- with internet speeds several hundred -- yes several hundred -- times faster than generally available. One gigabite, if that means anything to you, download a high definition movie in less than a minute.

The networks are not only to cover the campus, but surrounding areas as well.

Stop stop. The words "to build" are too strong. It's a concept, called GigU. Years away. The idea is to draw high tech start-ups (health care, energy, telecomm). Case Western Reserve U tried it; three new corporations showed up in the first three months. Others are skeptical though about the "build it, they will come" philosophy.

”We’re not asking for government money,” said Blair Levin, a fellow at the Aspen Institute (and erstwhile head of the FCC's broadband plan) who is heading the project. “We believe the right approach is to have the private sector fund the networks.”

“The concept is laudable, but the real question is for what purpose?” said Michael Kleeman, a computer network designer and telecommunications policy strategist at the University of California, San Diego. Hey Mike, remember Bill Gates once said a computer with 256k memory would be powerful enough for everyone's home; I am writing this on a new machine with 16 gig. So ya never know.

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