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American universities embark on broadband plan

While six Kiwi upstarts are pushing ahead with their bid to build a fibre-optic internet cable linking New Zealand, Australia and the US, a coalition of 29 American universities is throwing its weight behind a not dissimilar plan to build ultra-high-speed computer networks in their communities.

The Gig.U project aims to draw high-tech startups in fields like healthcare, energy and telecommunications to the areas near the campuses, deally functioning as hubs for a new generation of faster computer networks.

The institutions involved include Duke University, the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, the University of Chicago and George Mason University. They are reaching out to telecommunications companies, corporations and nonprofits for suggestions.

While the biggest universities already have access to higher-speed networks, the Gig.U members come mainly from smaller communities in the midwest.

”We’re not asking for government money,” project leader Blair Levin told the New York Times. “We believe the right approach is to have the private sector fund the networks.”

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