Named GigU, the project is expected to be announced Wednesday.
Rather than a consumer-focused initiative, however, the effort "is meant to draw high-tech start-ups in fields like health care, energy and telecommunications to the areas near the universities, many
of which are in the Midwest or outside of major cities," according to The New York Times.
"These zones would ideally function as hubs for building a new generation of faster computer networks, which could make the United States more competitive internationally." The universities reportedly are reaching out to telecommunications companies for suggestions, as well as to corporations and nonprofits for business ideas. Participating colleges include Arizona State University, Howard University and Duke University, to name a few.