Gig.U Gives Hope For Ultra-Fast Internet, but "Nothing Set in Stone"

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COLUMBIA - One day after MU announced its intention to join the ultra high-speed web project called "Gig.U," REDI President Mike Brooks said Thursday that "Nothing is set in stone," in reference to the possibility of higher speed broadband coming to Columbia. 

Gig.U is a group of university communities across the country seeking to implement the higher speed broadband in their respective communities. The proposed one gigabyte connectivity speed is about twenty times the speed of current internet service providers.

MU, Columbia, and MORENet are combining to provide Gig.U with $15,000 towards researching a proposal.

But Brooks said the project is still in the earliest stages of development.  There are still politics to decide, business models to create, and contractors needed to fill in the gaps.

Carson Coffman, president of local internet service provider Socket, said a project this size would require completely new infrastructure in Columbia. Miles of fiber optic cables would need to be installed. Coffman estimates the cost of such a project to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Joining Gig.U comes four months after Columbia's failed attempt to bring Google Fiber to the city. Implementing higher speed broadband is part of the city's efforts to make itself a more marketable destination for education, research, and other business ventures.