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FCC Chairman Julius Genachoski on Friday issued a “Gigabit City Challenge,” calling for all 50 states to have at least one community with gigabit internet by 2015.

The FCC cited research from the Fiber to the Home Council, noting that there are currently only 42 communities across 14 states being served by ultra-high-speed fiber Internet providers.

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, Genachowski called for at least one gigabit community in all 50 states by 2015. Chairman Genachowski said that establishing gigabit communities nationwide will accelerate the creation of a critical mass of markets and innovation hubs with ultra-fast Internet speeds.

“American economic history teaches a clear lesson about infrastructure,” Genachoski said in a statement. “If we build it, innovation will come. 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.”

The Comcast-NBC Universal merger was announced at the end of 2009. Meanwhile, Verizon Communications, the only nationwide company installing fiber-optic lines, said it will stop expanding fiber coverage after the wireless company bought Comcast’s AWS frequencies.

In the coming months the FTTH Council will be launching a series of initiatives aimed at helping all communities get ultra high speed broadband.

According to Genachowski

The mayors of Chicago, New York and Seattle have all come forward with plans to launch gigabit testbeds in their cities.

And the Gig.U initiative has already catalyzed over $200 million in private investment to build ultra-high-speed hubs in the communities of many leading research universities.

We need more of these gigabit testbeds to ensure there is a sufficient market in the U.S. for super-high-bandwidth applications and services. A critical mass of gigabit communities will spur innovation and investment.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced last month that the City of Seattle has reached an agreement with broadband developer Gigabit Squared to develop and operate a fiber network for Seattle with speeds up to 1 Gbps.

The city of Seattle and Gigabit Squared (GB2), along with the University of Washington have begin raising the capital to build out a demonstration fiber network that will deliver gigabit service to homes and businesses (FAQ).

The network, called Gigabit Seattle includes three pieces: Fiber directly to homes and business in twelve demonstration neighborhoods, along with dedicated gigabit broadband wireless connections to multifamily housing and offices across Seattle, and next generation wireless cloud services in its 12 neighborhoods.

GB2 plans to utilize Seattle’s excess fiber infrastructure, and sees the development of a “dedicated gigabit broadband wireless umbrella” for beaming up to 1 Gbps from small cells, as well as municipal WiFi-like services.

When Seattle decided to lease capacity on its network, Gigabit was one of ten companies that expressed interest, explains Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times.

Chicago was the first recipient of the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program where the University of Chicago, communities like Woodlawn, state, city and county government, as well as hospitals and schools combined with the private equity to fund the Gigabit Squared project.

Chicago is trying to encourage private investment in completing a high-speed fiber ring that would link existing and emerging tech centers and provide free WiFi in parks. The city is likely to formally advertise for bidders sometime soon, reports Chicago Business.

Small cells and “hetnets” are now the hot thing. Carriers can fill in coverage and add capacity in urban cores by using small licensed or unlicensed nodes, linking heterogeneous networks together. But they need fiber to connect small nodes to centralized, cloud-based servers.

RF over fiber can eliminate the on-site basestation. Radio over Fiber is much cheaper to build, run and maintain and more flexible.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Seattle’s Gigabit Fiber CityNet, Chicago Announces Free WiFi in Parks, Google Fiber Launches in Kansas City, Small Cells for Cisco, Sprint to use Light Radio for Small Cells, Street light Provides Wi-Fi, Cell Coverage, Hotspot 2.0, Intel: Basestation in the Cloud,

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