Wake Forest Baptist and WFU Part of Nationwide Initiative to Hasten Development of Ultra High Speed Computer Networks

July 27, 2011

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Wake Forest University have joined research institutions from across the country in an effort to accelerate the deployment of ultra-high-speed computer networks in their communities.

The initiative – Gig.U, the University Community Next Generation Innovation Project – was launched today by 29 universities acting in partnerships with their local communities. Its goal is to promote the development of “next generation” networks in these communities in order to improve campus-community connectivity, drive economic growth and spur a new generation of innovations.

“We are pleased to be the driving force in bringing the Gig.U project to our community,” said Doug Edgeton, executive vice president and COO of the Wake Forest School of Medicine. “The tremendous volume of research at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center demands this vast bandwidth, and that demand is what will allow our community to benefit from this project.”

Research universities increasingly depend on high-speed networks to educate, collaborate and innovate. But most of these institutional networks do not extend into the surrounding communities, which hampers the pace at which advances made at universities can be tested and applied off campus. Gig.U aims to stimulate private-sector interest in providing advanced networking and other services in the participating university communities by stressing their attractive demographics and other favorable market characteristics.

“The medical center and university have long been major contributors to the local economy, and we are happy that Winston-Salem can be a partner in this project,” said Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines. “Any improvement in the computer infrastructure that fosters increased intellectual and economic activity will definitely be a plus for the entire community.”

UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State and Duke are the other North Carolina universities participating in the Gig.U project.

Additional information about the Gig.U initiative, including a complete list of the participating schools, is available online at gig-u.org.

Media Relations

Main Number: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587