Gigabit Cities

Gigabites: Phoenix Wins Smart City Lottery

Another week, another Gigabites. In today's edition, the city of Phoenix wins support from Cox to pursue its gigabit smart city dreams, St. Louis issues an RFI, another municipal utility announces gigabit broadband plans and more.

  • The nonprofit US Ignite won a $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) last September to build a "living lab of testbeds for smart gigabit applications." Fifteen communities joined the new Smart Gigabit Communities project under that funding umbrella, but in a tribute to the work of US Ignite, additional cities are still lining up to participate even with the initial government money for the project already doled out. (See White House Funding Seeds Smart Cities.)

    Phoenix won the golden ticket this week when Cox Communications Inc. announced that it's providing a three-year grant to sponsor the city's membership in the Smart Gig program. As municipal grants go, that's a pretty significant win for the Arizona state capital. By joining the US Ignite project, Phoenix will gain access to resources for developing its own gigabit applications and will also be able to test applications from other communities in the group.

    For Cox, the grant is a nice boost to the company's image as a leading gigabit service provider. The telco started delivering residential gigabit services in Phoenix back in 2014. (See Cox Goes Gaga Over Gigabit.)

  • Learn more about gigabit networks at our upcoming Big Communications Event in Austin, TX, May 24-25. You can register now.

  • St. Louis is ready to get in the gigabit game. The company released a request for information (RFI) this week asking for ideas and interest from service providers in developing a gigabit infrastructure in the region. Touting itself as one of the top startup cities in the US, St. Louis hopes that a more robust local broadband network will help it sustain its "innovation ecosystem." The RFI proposal deadline in June 20.

  • Despite growing interest in hybrid public/private gigabit broadband models, new municipal gigabit initiatives continue to crop up, and Ozarks Electric Cooperative has announced one of the latest. Through a new subsidiary called OzarksGo, the utility says it will launch a triple-play bundle of services including broadband with speeds up to 1 Gbit/s. OzarksGo will serve subscribers in northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma.

  • A new report by Point Topic states that there are now more fiber-to-the-home subscribers than cable broadband users worldwide, with the FTTH tally growing at rate of greater than 60% over the last year. That's not the end of the capex story, however. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said in its Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2016 report this week that it expects capex spending on fiber infrastructure to surpass $144.2 billion between 2014 and 2019.

    — Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

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