White House Launches ‘US Ignite’ For Next-Gen Broadband & Apps, Partners With Mozilla For $500k Competition

President Obama will sign an executive order tomorrow that will make the construction of broadband networks along federal roadways and properties easier and, according to the White House, 90% cheaper. This is only one part in the White House’s new push to improve broadband in the United States. In addition, the White House is also launching its “US Ignite” initiative that actually feels somewhat similar to what Google is doing with its Google Fiber project in Kansas City. US Ignite’s mission is to spur the development of “next-generation applications and digital experience” that will we able to make use of state-of-the-art broadband networks running 100 times faster than today’s Internet connections.”

The US Ignite Partnership, which includes over 100 start-ups, local and state governments, federal agencies, universities and major players in the tech industry like Cisco and Hewlett-Packard, aims to develop a national 1 gigabit network that will connect communities and university campuses. The White House argues that these new networks and apps will “improve services to Americans and drive job creation, promote innovation, and create new markets for American businesses.” The National Science Foundation is also committing $20 million to prototype and test these technologies.

Mozilla Ignite: A $500,000 Design Competition To Develop Apps For High-Speed Networks

All of that sounds like a lofty goal, but if you are a developer or have some good ideas about what to do with such a high-speed network, you can get to work right now. Mozilla and the National Science Foundation just announced the “Mozilla Ignite” challenge with a total of $500,000 worth of awards up for grabs. The challenge is currently in its first stage, which invites you to submit ideas for what you would do with a 1 Gbps network. The focus here is on education, healthcare, emergency preparedness, public safety, advanced manufacturing and clean energy and transportation. The best ideas will be rewarded with a total of $15,000 in prizes.

Later rounds (with higher prizes) will focus on application design and development. Participants in the challenges, says Mozilla, “will gain access to advanced technologies developed through the National Science Foundation’s Global Environment for Network Innovation (GENI) program.”