Julius Genachowski, the Federal Communications Commission chairman who recently picked up the nickname "the spectrum chairman" must also want to be known as "the gigabit chairman." In his speech today before the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, D.C., Genachowski launched what he's calling the "Gigabit City Challenge," urging states and cities to accelerate the creation of ultra-fast Internet networks.
With speeds 100 times faster than average Internet connections, gigabit networks could offer stiff competition to broadcasters and cable providers by giving consumers an alternative way to consume high-definition video.
"The U.S. needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness," Genachowski said.
Today, there are about 42 communities in 14 states served by ultra-high-speed fiber Internet networks, according to the Fiber to the Home Council.
To accelerate the build-out of gigabit nets like Google's Fiber network in Kansas City, Genachowski announced plans to create an online clearinghouse of best practices for how to lower the cost and speed of broadband deployment and create gigabit nets. The agency is also planning a series of workshops.