A consortium of higher education associations, public interest groups and high-tech companies today announced a new partnership called AIR.U (Advanced Internet Regions) to deploy Super Wi-Fi networks in university communities by taking advantage of unused television channels, known as white spaces.
Home to 291 two- and four-year postsecondary institutions that enrolled more than 990,000 students in fall 2010, New England could be particularly ripe for the AIR.U program aiming to increase broadband wireless access for both postsecondary institutions and their surrounding communities.
Using White Space technology offers an opportunity to focus specifically on rural institutions and communities, which may not have access to the high-speed Internet connections that allow larger research-based university communities to support advanced research as well as new teaching and learning models. With the interest and development of educational technologies that enable distance learning, open courseware, and other new models of education, AIR.U is an opportunity to ensure that communities have the ability to access these new innovations.
Other founding higher education organizations include the United Negro College Fund, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, and Gig.U.
Founding partners also include Microsoft, Google, the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and Declaration Networks Group, LLC.