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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UF is teaming up with 29 universities to obtain an Internet service that is so fast, one could download 200 iTunes songs in eight seconds.

The coalition, called Gig.U, is working to bring ultra-high-speed Internet services to Gainesville and the cities surrounding the other 29 schools.

"Today's launch of Gig.U is the aggregation of the demand-side interest for ultra-broadband among great universities and colleges across the nation, both for ourselves and for the neighborhoods around us," said Lev Gonick, vice president of information technology services at Case Western Reserve University in a press conference Wednesday.

"When you have a major research university like this, you sort of have a perfect fit already in place," said UF spokesman Steve Orlando.

Shands at UF just switched to electronic medical records about a month ago, Orlando said, and faster Internet services would now mean more to UF's medical community.

Orlando said high-speed broadband services would be the icing on the cake for the Innovation Square, a local entrepreneur think-tank still in its planning stages.

"We have some of the best minds and talents in the world right here in Gainesville," he said. "They deserve the tools they need to put those minds to work.

Cox Enterprises Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and numbers of others are possible vendors, he said.

Innovation Square will have speedy Internet but improved high-speed Internet would help the area immensely and foster economic growth, said Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe.

"We have never seen a time where UF, Santa Fe and the Gainesville community were so integrated," Lowe said. "High-speed internet would only increase that."

Gainesville has watched ultra-high-speed Internet slip away once before when Google's program Google Fiber went to Kansas City, Mo.

Gainesville and UF's research community missed out on 1-GB-per-second Internet service, which is 20 times faster than anything in the United States.

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