July 22, 2015

What does 100 gig mean for the City of Cleveland?

Learn how key Cleveland business leaders feel about the fastest commercially available fiber network

The Cleveland Health-Tech 100 gig color logoCorridor has partnered with the City of Cleveland, OneCommunity, Case Western Reserve University (“CWRU”), and ideastream to supercharge economic growth in Cleveland. The team is in the process of installing the nation’s fastest commercial fiber network, bringing 100 gigabit speed to the City. This fiber network will set the new standard for tech-infrastructure cities and will offer downloads and uploads more than 300 times faster than the national average.

The 100 gigabit fiber network will allow companies in Cleveland to share medical images in milliseconds, making it easy to transmit and analyze remotely, accelerate the pace of R&D with instantaneous access to massive data sets, and eliminate barriers with next generation video conferencing, including 4D, holographic, and immersive conferencing.

This is all extremely impressive and exciting for health-tech and high-tech businesses located in the Health-Tech Corridor, but what does this mean for the Greater Cleveland area? Key leaders in the high-tech and business space agree that the network will have a tremendous impact on the City.

First, the 100 gigabit network will help bring a new generation of millennials to the City of Cleveland. “Having a 100 gig network will prevent brain drain and should give graduates a reason to remain in Cleveland and bring their ideas here,” said John Stahl, CEO of Lean Dog. Cleveland is already becoming a hot-spot for young professionals, with downtown’s residential population reaching an all-time high of 12,500 in the summer of 2014. The 100 gig network will increase this population even more, with young startup entrepreneurs flocking to the City for the fastest commercially available fiber network in the world.

“There are very few cities in the U.S. with this kind of speed,” said Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart, Inc. “A world-class infrastructure like this helps ensure that Cleveland stays at the forefront of innovation in the health and tech fields for years to come. It also helps attract new entrepreneurs and small business owners to the Health-Tech Corridor which in turn drives economic impact and inner-city job growth.”

Pete Anderson, CIO of the Greater Regional Transit Authority, agrees that the 100 gigabit network will bring new businesses and millennials to the area. “The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals offer world class healthcare. Now, with 100 gig, Cleveland is able to offer world class internet,” he said. “This is important as we move forward with attracting and retaining new businesses.”

“It’s a huge tribute to the community to be the first municipality to offer 100 gig,” Anderson added. “This demonstrates the strong support for enhancements as Cleveland leads the way for offering high speed. It puts Cleveland in the leading edge and offers significant help and support to our high tech and medical fields.”

Anderson and other key leaders agree that the network will put Cleveland at the forefront of Big Data. Dan Mouthop, CEO of the City Club of Cleveland, stated that the commercial network will put Cleveland “in league with Silicon Valley, the Research Triangle and New York City.”

Sue Workman, Vice President of Technology Services & CIO of CWRU, added that there’s even more to anticipate. “The 100 gig network isn’t just about Big Data,” said Workman. “We are planning to construct a studio at Case Western Reserve to support the use of holograms in education. To accomplish this feat, we must simultaneously connect data from hundreds of cameras, requiring many pipes and significant storage. The 100 gig network will help us take this exciting endeavor from concept to reality.”

“Ultimately, this will position Cleveland as a truly Smart City,” she stated.

Overall, these leaders agree that Cleveland is in a good position with this new network. As Dr. Kirsten Ellenbogen, President of the Great Lakes Science Center, put it: “Cleveland is in a position for a future that is even greater than what we can imagine right now.”

“We are at the launch of the Renaissance,” said Kevin Goodman, Managing Director at BlueBridge Networks. “We are poised for the Internet of Things. There are groundbreaking companies in Cleveland that improve our quality of life. The next wave is to connect the devices. Imagine the impact that will have. We shall give voice through technology. Big Data and 100 gig are each an augmentation of that. Fiber is leg on the stool, aligning us for the technology of the future.”

The 100 gig network will be accessible within the Health-Tech Corridor, between the Idea Center at Playhouse Square and Case Western Reserve University. The network is currently under construction and is scheduled for completion at the end of the summer.