1. What do you mean by gigabit-per-second Internet?
Gigabit-per-second Internet transfers 1,000 megabits per second (mbps) of data. To put that number in perspective, consider this figure: Most homes currently receive 5 to 10 mbps of data through their Internet connections.
2. What’s the difference between the Internet speed I have now and this faster gigabit Internet?
Consider this comparison: Your current Internet connection speeds deliver information to you at the rate water trickles from a leaky faucet. Gigabit Internet speed is like the Niagara Falls of flowing information.
3. Why would I need gigabit-per-second Internet?
Think about how your neighborhood, community, or town looks now. Think about how these areas could look with new businesses, new infrastructure, or new tech startups in place. Picture your community with greater economic opportunities for businesses to thrive, both globally and locally, and residents to achieve a higher quality of living. These are some of the possibilities that access to gigabit-per-second Internet can provide.
4. What does fiber have to do with gigabit Internet?
Telephone, Internet communication, cable TV signals … they’re all sent and received using optical fibers. These fibers are long, thin pieces of glass or transparent solids about the thickness of a human hair. When arranged in batches or bundles, these fibers send, or transmit, signals over long distances. Gigabit Internet delivery relies on these packets, or bundles, of fibers.
5. Who benefits from this high-speed Internet anyway?
Everyone benefits. Think about gigabit Internet in this way: The invention of electricity benefited everyone. The introduction of the telephone helped people across the country and across the world. Gigabit Internet is no different; the access to information will dramatically impact the way we do business, educate students of all ages, find meaningful employment, stay in touch with friends and family, shop online, and more. The speed at which we will be able to do these transactions and the amount of time we will save will allow more time in other areas of our lives.
Consider how access to hot water, heating and cooling, and electricity are the mainstays of everyday living. High-speed Internet is not only a luxury; it is a mainstay of daily living, opening opportunities to work, live, and create more efficiently in our communities.
6. OK … but I won’t actually get to use any of these gigabit Internet speeds at all, will I?
Certain key Pennsylvania community organizations, such as libraries and community resource centers, will be targeted first, and you will have access to the gigabit speed at those locations. The residential component is more complex and involves more capital, but our initial Gigabit Revolution community initiative is designed to review all interested communities within a 10-mile radius of the United Fiber & Data (UFD) fiber network, studying dozens of variables and specific engineering costs to bring gigabit fiber to the home.
Through these assessments, six community clusters will get advanced engineering, detailed Technology Action Plans, and analysis to best position these communities for construction, capital, and gigabit connectivity.
We want you to be an important part of bringing gigabit Internet to your community. Ask people in your neighborhood or in your workplace what having Internet access means to them. How do they use the Internet? What’s something you wish you could do with faster Internet speeds?
If you want to see your community grow, thrive, and develop, you can do something. Unite with your neighbors, friends, and colleagues to rally support for this Gigabit Revolution. You can turn gigabit Internet from possibility into reality for your own city or town.
7. What is this Gigabit Revolution, GIG REV, you’re talking about?
GIG REV, the Gigabit Revolution, is what we named our project financed in part by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development. We drew inspiration from the revolutionary heritage of our York city headquarters; in 1777, York hosted the Second Continental Congress and the colonies’ central government during the American Revolutionary War, giving rise to the Articles of Confederation and the concept of the United States of America.
Just as the American Revolution was a defining moment in the history of this nation, we believe that GIG REV is a defining movement for a gigabit revolution.
It is a movement that encourages you, your family, community leaders, friends, and more to use technology as a tool to bring about positive change in the homes, schools, and workplaces in your city or town. GIG REV encourages everyone to think about how they can use access to gigabit Internet technology to address real challenges and issues in their communities and neighborhoods, breaking down the digital divide (see question 11).
Currently, GIG REV is studying how gigabit-per-second Internet access could benefit six communities (see question 9 below) in south-central and eastern Pennsylvania. This study is financed in part and is a result of a Broadband Outreach Aggregation Fund (BOAF) grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
8. Who is in charge of this community initiative?
9. Who will this initiative actually benefit?
This initiative aims to benefit the south-central and eastern Pennsylvania region as a whole. As Digital Literacy and Inclusion programs are presented in these prospective communities, York, Hanover, Reading, Ephrata, Pottstown, and Doylestown, and their respective counties, will also benefit.
Further, six selected communities will receive a detailed engineering study that outlines design ideas and costs to become a gigabit community, plus an extensive Technology Action Plan to help each community optimize their broadband, technology, and innovation infrastructures. Those interested communities interviewed through the project will receive community-specific suggestions, ideas, and next steps to make the most of their community’s broadband, technology, and innovation infrastructures.
We are highly confident that GIG REV is going to bring significant positive media and branding for communities, companies, organizations, and schools along the fiber pathway.
10. What’s a gigabit community?
A gigabit community is made up of homes, businesses, schools, libraries, community service organizations, governmental agencies, and more connected to one another through gigabit-per-second Internet access. Wondering what these gigabit communities look like? On our GIG REV social media, discover how gigabit communities across the country—and across the world—are using gigabit Internet technology to positively impact their way of life and break down barriers to the digital divide (see question 11 below).
11. What is this digital divide you’re talking about?
The digital divide includes anyone who doesn’t have access to Internet technologies. According to EveryoneOn, a national nonprofit aimed at reversing the digital divide in America, one in five Americans do not use the Internet. One in four U.S. households do not have Internet access, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
12. Can I do anything for this GIG REV Gigabit Revolution?
Yes. Follow us on social media for details on our Public Awareness events and Pennsylvania GIG REV workshops scheduled in York, Hanover, Reading, Ephrata, Pottstown, and Doylestown for January 2016. At these workshops, we’ll talk more about GIG REV, answer your questions, encourage you to share your ideas, and deliver digital inclusion and awareness training to members of these communities.
13. How do my friends, family, coworkers, and I get connected to GIG REV?
Contact us to get connected to GIG REV.
14. Is GIG REV available only in Pennsylvania?
Presently, GIG REV is undertaking a broadband outreach and aggregation grant project. This project, funded in part by Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development, will be completed by May 15, 2016.
At the same time, GIG REV is seeking other communities, organizations, and companies in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia that are immediately interested in getting connected.