A new public-private effort, the US Ignite Partnership, was launched on Thursday at the White House to capitalize on what is possible through virtualized, ultra-fast broadband networks, and "ignite" the development of next-generation Internet applications and services for societal benefit.
"Build the next generation Internet, and they will come," says Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe, "but not without encouragement and a willingness to be surprised. In the 1970s, many doubted there were uses for even 50 kilobit per second Internet. But soon application explorers came up with remote login, file transfer, and email. Pioneers have since found new worlds in telephony, television, publishing, commerce and social interactivity. Today, while investing in gigabit generations of Internet, we are again sending out our application explorers."
The primary goal of the US Ignite Partnership will be to catalyze approximately 60 advanced, next-gen applications over the next five years in six areas of national priority education and workforce development, advanced manufacturing, health, transportation, public safety, and clean energy. Responsibilities of the Partnership will include connecting, convening, and supporting startups, local and state government, universities, industry leaders, federal agencies, foundations, and community and carrier initiatives in conceptualizing and building new applications. The resulting new applications should have a significant impact on the U.S. economy, including providing a broad range of job and investment opportunities.
A number of these applications are in development or early testing right now. "Today, in Cleveland, Ohio there are families receiving medical care to which they wouldn't otherwise have access through advanced telemedicine built on a new and flexible ultra-fast network. In Chattanooga, Tenn., a dozen new startups are building new applications for everything from improved transportation to disaster response to a smart energy-grid by taking advantage of the city's gigabit to the-home fiber optic network," says US Ignite Executive Director Sue Spradley. "The future of technology as many think about it, is possible today. And through US Ignite, we'll be helping to deploy advanced applications for Americans everywhere."