On Dec. 11 via live webcast, Ohio Gov. John Kasich unveiled the state's 100 Gbps broadband network -- a tenfold increase in speed and capacity -- operated by the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet).
Kasich announced the upgrade in his State of the State address in February, and Ohio has since invested approximately $13 million to take Ohio’s broadband infrastructure from 10 Gbps capacity to 100 Gbps -- an expansion that uses 1,850-plus miles of OARnet's fiber-optic network.
"This is an ability -- think about 4G -- this is like 4G times a billion," Kasich said. "This is the real thing, where we can send amazing amounts of data so that videos, file transfers -- the kinds of things that can be used at great distances to communicate back and forth to people who are engaged in anything from the development of businesses to the practice of medicine -- it is an unlimited potential for the state of Ohio."
This network, Kasich said, is the most comprehensive and connected operation in the entire world. "And it's just absolutely thrilling to have it here right on the campus of Ohio State [University]," he said. "It's going to hook all of our brothers and sisters across all the educational institutions in the state."
After showing a video about OARnet, the governor asked a technician, who appeared on a monitor amid wires and equipment, to the right-hand side of the stage, to "light the network."
Within seconds, the technician replied, "Governor, the network is operational."
Almost immediately, nine video links of universities across the state popped up, each of which discussed what this high-speed network means for them.
In Portsmouth, Ohio, Shawnee State University, for instance, is thrilled to be part of the process. "This new bandwidth will have a great impact on our academic programs, particularly our simulation and digital gaming program, which is No. 7 in the United States," said university President Rita Rice Morris. "And we're very excited about the partnerships we're going to be able to form with our community members to use this network to help meet the needs of our region."
As Kasich noted, the state of Ohio will never go backward on the issue of communication. "Now this is the superpowered -- superfragilistic -- Internet activity that will bring progress," he said.