gigabit-enabled platform


Senior Member
Hello everyone,

From the book Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman.

She would initiate three “races to the top” from the federal level—with prizes of $100 million, $75 million, and $50 million—to vastly accelerate innovations in social technologies: Which state can come up with the best platform for retraining workers? Which state can design a pilot city or community of the future where everything from self-driving vehicles and ubiquitous Wi-Fi to education, clean en-ergy, affordable housing, health care, and green spaces is all integrated into a gigabit-enabled platform?

What does "gigabit-enabled" mean?

Thank you.
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  • manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Since the author mentions "ubiquitous Wi-Fi", I'd assume that he's talking generally about the speed of digital wireless communication.

    Our current networks, e.g. LTE in 4G mobile phone technology, can only do a theoretical 300 megabits per second, which translates to a real throughput of maybe 100-150 Mbps at best. The new 5G system that is being rolled out this year can theoretically achieve up to 1.6 gigabits per second in its initial form (and up to 10 Gbps in later stages).
    In other words, our current wireless technology and existing infrastructure is not yet gigabit-enabled, but there certainly is a firm need and plan for faster wireless communication for the future.

    [edit: adjusting style]
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    Senior Member
    German - Austria

    Since the author is American, I'm wondering about this term "Wi-Fi" in AE. Has it become synonymous with mobile communication in general?

    Personally, I associate wifi primarily with short-range private networks, i.e. a wifi connection from your computer to the router in your home as an alternative to wired connections. When I hear the term I do not think of mobile phones or mobile communication in general.
    But since the technologies of Wi-Fi as cable replacement has converged with mobile phone technology to a large extent, it's not nonsensical to use that term from a technical point of view.
    But is the same true for the general public? Is Wi-Fi now being used and understood as a general term for mobile communication in AmE?


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.

    There are certain cities where WiFi is offered (or is attempting to be offered) throughout the downtown area as a cooperative venture of the city and local businesses. It's open to use by everybody and works with any WiFi enabled device - no broadband needed.

    Also, the Comcast cable company has WiFi hotspots all over cities that anyone with home Comcast service can use. You have to sign in with your Comcast account information, so it's not free to everyone, but the idea is the same - to cover a city with public WiFi hotspots.
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