A new ultra-fast national broadband network system announced today at a White House news conference will connect the University of Central Florida’s medical school and other partners in the Lake Nona Medical City with about 100 high-tech communities around the nation. 

The US Ignite Partnership, a public-private effort, intends to capitalize on what future technology may be possible through a computer network 100 times faster than the Internet. The network would “ignite” the development of next-generation applications and services.

US Ignite has signed on start-ups, local and state governments, federal agencies, universities and tech-industry leaders such as Cisco and Hewlett-Packard to participate in what the White House predicts will “improve services to Americans and drive job creation, promote innovation, and create new markets for American businesses.” The National Science Foundation also has pledged $20 million to help build and test the system.

At Lake Nona, one of just two US Ignite founding partners in Florida, some of the Medical City researchers already use a state-of-the-art network, and the possibility of someday connecting via an ultra-fast system with other distant colleagues is attractive. UCF is partnering with the Lake Nona IT Council to develop a shared broadband network connecting the university and other Medical City partners with other research sites at 10 gigabits per second.

“The concept for a ‘no limits’ broadband IT infrastructure for Medical City originated with UCF, and has been widely accepted by all other Medical City partners,” said Joel Hartman, vice provost and chief information officer.

By more quickly sharing data files with huge amounts of information, researchers will be able to more easily collaborate on complicated projects.

This pioneering system also will likely open the way for new, unexpected technologies, organizers predicted during this morning’s news conference.

The nonprofit US Ignite has established six areas of national priority for the network: education and workforce development, advanced manufacturing, health, transportation, public safety and clean energy.

The other founding partner in the state is Florida LambdaRail, LLC, which facilitates advanced research, education and economic development activities among its Florida research university members by utilizing highly advanced network technologies.

“Florida LambdaRail is in the process of deploying those technologies throughout Florida to enable not only Medical City, but all of the state’s research universities to have access to these advanced tools and fully participate in US Ignite and other developing initiatives,” Hartman said.