Mayor Chris Beutler today said Lincoln's new designation as a Smart Gigabit Community (SGC) makes the City part of a network of SGCs connected by shared high-speed technology infrastructure. That allows the SGCs to exchange information, conduct research, and develop first-generation gigabit software applications. The selection as an SGC came from U.S. Ignite's Smart Gigabit Community program funded by the National Science Foundation.
The City's local partners in the initiative are with the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, ALLO Communications and Fuse Co-Working (FUSE). Less than 25 other communities have achieved the designation as a SGC. "The goal is for Lincoln to create a Digital Town Square available to students, entrepreneurs and businesses," Beutler said. "The Digital Town Square will help them develop applications to better compete in the digital economy."
Mayor Beutler said the foundation for the SGC designation is City's 2012 investment in the Lincoln Broadband Project. Today, the City has installed nearly 500 miles of conduit leased to eight broadband carriers and promoted the installation of small-cell wireless technology. Beutler said the City is now approaching the successful completion of a fiber-to-the-home project.
"The designation as a Smart Gigabit City further cements our growing national reputation as a hub of the Silicon Prairie," Beutler said. "We are proving every day that innovation is not confined only to large urban centers. Our success demonstrates again that when we combine world class infrastructure with innovation, education, and business partnerships, we can produce new economic development opportunities for our community."
US Ignite, a nonprofit that works to build the foundation for smart communities, started the SGC program in 2015. The program's goal is to creating "living lab" environments for the next generation of gigabit internet applications. More information is available at us-ignite.org.
UNL helped bring the SGC program to Lincoln by Internet 2 connectivity, a result of UNL's investments over the last decade. "Ignite Lincoln builds on the collaborations and investments of the partners to fuel research and development of ultra-fast networks and applications that can provide innovative economic and social opportunities for the people of Lincoln and our state," said Steve Goddard, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development at UNL.
ALLO is a key partner in the construction and deployment of Lincoln's state-of-the-art fiber to-the-home gigabit network. The network construction is scheduled to be complete in 2019 and will encompass more than 105,000 residences and 20,000 businesses/governmental institutions. The project is more than 50 percent complete at this time.
"Fully utilizing the virtually unlimited bandwidth from gigabit networks is the next revolution for Lincoln and other fiber communities," said Jeff Kuenne, ALLO Chief Technologist and Co-Founder. "The collaboration between our local partners and leaders in forward-thinking communities across the U.S. will expand Lincoln's and Nebraska's opportunities with advanced technologies. We look forward to being involved with the Smart Gigabit Community teams to develop next generation gigabit applications. Gigabit networks can, and will, provide so much more than merely faster internet and the elimination of buffering. I am excited for our communities' future as we improve the business opportunities and lives of our citizens through innovation."
The entrepreneurship partners in the initiative are FUSE, NMotion Accelerator, Nebraska Innovation Campus, Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship (NCE) and Nebraska Global (NG). FUSE is providing work space for the initiative. NG will provide community applications development leadership, angel investing evaluation, and business model assessments for the initiative's entrepreneurial teams. Other partners include the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, Beehive Industries and TEDx Lincoln.
"Powered by ALLO with its gigabit fiber network, FUSE is honored and excited to be a key partner of the Smart Gigabit Community infrastructure and team-lead for Lincoln," said Rena Valentino, FUSE Executive Director. "As a space that already provides collaboration for new ideas and concepts between individuals and teams, it's a perfect fit. This will bring even more collaboration between private and public entities to spark new concepts and innovation, which is impactful and beneficial for our entire community and eco-system."
The City is investing $15,000 a year over three years from the Broadband Innovation Fund.
Each SGC member has committed to develop two gigabit applications or gigabit services per year which provide advanced technology solutions to community issues and to share those applications with others in the SGC program.