Smart Infrastructure Starts with Planning – at the Community Level

Smart Infrastructure Starts with Planning – at the Community Level

Date: 17 Jun 2009 | posted in: information, MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Montana’s Great Falls Tribune has an article that examines a community success story from Cleveland and the greater NE Ohio region.

Instead of going to Hollywood to see what the future may hold, go to Cleveland. It’s here you’ll find an example of a community with five years of experience in creating a regional fiber-optic network that connects more than 1,000 organizations — hospitals, school districts, governments, museums, libraries and other public and nonprofit organizations.

The success in and around Cleveland demonstrates not only the benefits of Smart Infrastructure, but also the reality that local communities are best equipped to implement today’s fundamental need for infrastructure that empowers innovation.

A Smart Infrastructure looks at the big-picture and end goals. If a road project is in progress, smart planning might mean going an extra mile to lay fiber optic cables while the road is open. Having the foresight to plan for civic improvements while empowering innovation is what smart infrastructure is all about.

This kind of smart planning is happening in Cleveland, with the help of technology nonprofit OneCommunity.

Since 2004, OneCommunity has been operating one of the world’s largest and fastest fiber optic networks, initially established from a network of dormant fiber cables running under the city.

Communities across the United States have found different ways of making sure they have the infrastructure of the future – Cleveland has a nonprofit, others have a public utility offering a fast fiber network, and still others have created a city department to do the same.

The common thread is a recognition that communities are better suited to build this essential infrastructure than private companies that are unaccountable to, and often located outside of, the community.

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Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Netwroks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He runs as part of ILSR's effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them.