The internet has an uncanny history of tiny companies disrupting behemoths of industry. It turns out, it’s not just startups flipping corporate superpowers on their head. Small, rural cities in the United States are proving they can not only compete with major cities like Vienna and Paris, they can beat them.
It’s easy to see why cities want to be “Smart Cities”. The promise of efficient utilities, quick transit, and disaster recovery options are compelling economic advantages. Smart cities will fundamentally improve how people live. So how do they get from great ideas to laying groundwork?
We look at some of the most innovative cities of all sizes to discover how cities are getting ahead.
Smart City List
This Canadian city is a leader in North America. They have implemented smart transit systems and renewable resources to save money and the environment. It’s a major economic hub that’s investing in new tech, cementing Toronto’s status as one of the leading smart cities in the hemisphere. The secret sauce? The region has affordable fiber internet to both businesses and consumers, meaning gigabit speeds across the entire city.
Vienna is an international center for business and politics, and they are investing in their infrastructure to meet this demand. Boasting a world-class smart infrastructure and transit system, the city has become a destination for tech companies. That includes ISPs, where the fierce competition has resulted in multiple fiber options for citizens across the city. Blazing fast internet speeds keep the high-tech infrastructure running.
3.Ponca City, Oklahoma
At the opposite end of the Smart City scale, Ponca City is a small community of 25,000 residents. That hasn’t stopped attention from the rest of world as the city hosts delegations from Italy, Australia, and all over the Northern hemisphere. Why so much attention to an Oklahoma farm town? It’s all because of their internet, fiber to be exact. Ponca City has a completely free municipal WiFi network that covers the entire city, powered by a fiber network built over the course of 15 years. It’s an inspired forward-thinking project that’s paying big dividends back to the city.
2. New York City
The big apple needs no introduction. The mayor’s office released a full public proposal on everything from wireless water meters to responsive traffic signals. Central to this goal is the pledge to provide high-speed broadband to every resident by 2025. To do this, Verizon has been contracted to bring fiber access to every part of the city.
Easily one of the hottest up and coming cities in the United States, Chattanooga boasts the fastest broadband in the Western hemisphere. Thanks to savvy city leadership, they’ve been dubbed the city that was saved by the internet. Gigabit broadband internet access that was built and offered by the city has ushered in a technical renaissance, a small oasis of startup culture nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Building for the Future
The key component to any competitive smart city is fast and reliable broadband. Uploading thousands of gigabytes of city usage data to the cloud takes bandwidth and lots of it. Like a house without a foundation, a smart city plan won’t survive without the broadband infrastructure to scale into the future. For that, the winner is fiber, hands down. The examples of small cities like Chattanooga and Ponca City prove even rural municipalities can compete with major cities. New York City is pledging to provide high-speed broadband to all of its residents by 2025, but Ponca City already checked that box 5 years ago.
So how does a small city compete with major players? Start now. Investing in fiber infrastructure takes years and major budget investments to compete, but results in major benefits down the road. Rural cities are already starting to take notice of the success stories, and fiber when done right can make a city in decline a smart city in a matter of years.
Adding usage tracking to your smart city project? Find out how Who’s On My WiFi can help.