Utah Education Network, the only public TV licensee to receive a federal broadband grant and to join the national US Ignite project to develop broadband apps, has appointed a Utah school superintendent, Ray Timothy, as its c.e.o. and executive director, effective Oct. 1. Timothy is superintendent of the Park City School District, former super of the rural Millard County district and a former deputy super of the state Office of Education. He succeeds Mike Petersen, who took a faculty position with Utah State University. Since Petersen left in January, the network’s interim chief has been Eric Denna, co-chair of the UEN Board and chief information officer of the Utah System of Higher Education and the University of Utah.
The state-operated Utah Education Network and several municipalities are among about 100 members of US Ignite, a new partnership creating services for future broadband networks running up to 100 times faster than today’s Internet. This White House announced the partnership this morning, and President Obama will sign an executive order streamlining the approval process for building broadband infrastructure on and under federal property and coordinating excavations. It will reduce costs, for instance, by permitting broadband construction during highway-building. For a vivid demo of the power that the new networks make possible, John Underkoffler of Oblong Industries, showed off a video of G-speak, a commercially available human-machine interface based on Oblong’s design for the Wii-like technology used in the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report. The press conference kicked off a day-long series of sessions and other events.