Broadband Communities

AUG-SEP 2017

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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50 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017 BROADBAND APPLICATIONS Smart Cities and Broadband Lessons from the Smart Cities Connect Conference / US Ignite Applications Summit By Rollie Cole / Sagamore Institute for Public Policy R ecent broadband improvements, especially the growth of fiber networks, made possible the event I attended in June 2017 – Smart Cities Connect and the co-located US Ignite Applications Summit – and the applications discussed at the event will spur even more broadband growth. US Ignite, a nonprofit, public-private collaboration established by the U.S. government, encourages and supports applications that take advantage of the high speed, low latency and high reliability of fiber-based networks. e organization has helped support several dozen applications throughout its five-year history and expects some 65 new applications to come on line in 2017. For example, Compute for Cancer helps identify new cancer treatments by crowdsourcing unused compute power on individuals' devices to run massive, complex calculations. e University of Louisiana at Lafayette is developing an immersive, networked, collaborative VR environment for education about energy technologies. And Sensco uses in-pipe turbines with wireless connections for water leak detection. With three such sensors (one each for hot, cold and triangulation), the application can spot and report leaks throughout a building. FTTH greatly facilitates transmitting these signals from the building to the water utility. e existence of more and better applications increases the demand for FTTH, as it shows the benefits of having an FTTH network. Because these applications do not "emerge" from US Ignite until they are up and running somewhere, they provide concrete demonstrations of value, not just speculation. With funding from the National Science Foundation, US Ignite promotes FTTH networks as test beds for developing more apps and more services. Some of the cities participating, including Chattanooga, Tennessee; Kansas City, Kansas; and Lafayette, Louisiana, have a dedicated office or a nonprofit whose primary mission is to promote and operate the test bed aspects of the network. SMART-CITY APPS ENGAGE CITIZENS e connection between smart cities and FTTH is less obvious because, so far, the apps that get most attention help the government improve its own operations or deal with its suppliers, not with citizens. At last year's Smart Cities Connect, some two dozen vendors promoted citizen engagement apps, which obviously required citizens to have access to some network, although not necessarily FTTH. But most cities (Austin, Texas, is a notable exception) have been reluctant to invest much money or time in pure citizen engagement, so only two such apps were exhibited at this year's conference. at doesn't mean citizen engagement is a lost cause or that smart-city apps won't engage citizens. What has happened is both more subtle and, I hope, much more profound: Citizen engagement is being built into or added to other city services. To explain my optimism, let me describe my view of the smart-city movement. I have studied government use of technology since the mid-1970s. Early on, like others in the field, I identified two patterns of government technology adoption, one of which is similar to technology adoption by private entities and

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