A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lexington named newest member of US Ignite’s Smart Gigabit Communities Program

US Ignite, Inc. has announced that the City of Lexington, partnered with the University of Kentucky, is the newest participant in the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) program

US Ignite is a nonprofit that spurs the creation of next-generation applications and services that leverage advanced networking technologies to build the foundation for smart communities. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2015, US Ignite’s Smart Gigabit Communities program is creating “living lab” environments for the next generation of gigabit applications. Lexington joins 24 other national and international communities participating in the SGC program.

Participation in the SGC program comes two weeks after Mayor Jim Gray announced that Lexington will become the largest gigabit city in the country. MetroNet, a private fiber company, has agreed to build a fiber-to-the-premises fiber-optic network throughout the city, offering gigabit internet speeds to residences and businesses beginning in the summer of 2018.

“We are ecstatic to join US Ignite’s network of Smart Gigabit Communities,” said Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. “Lexington’s vast community of innovators and technologists combined with the support and resources of US Ignite will without a doubt produce unparalleled innovations in the coming months and years that will positively benefit the lives of Lexington residents.”

“This is a great step forward in the support of city and population health.” said Cody Bumgardner, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Kentucky. “The cooperative participation of the city and university in the Smart Gigabit Communities program is a signal that we are committed to developing data-driven approaches to improve the lives of those in Lexington and the broader commonwealth.”

Smart Gigabit Communities is a collaboration among US Ignite, universities, municipalities, community anchor institutions like hospitals and schools, nonprofits, network carriers and ISPs. Together, these organizations are focused on developing smart gigabit applications that address local community needs, such as education, workforce development, public safety, community health, smart energy and transportation. Each member of the program has committed to develop two gigabit applications or gigabit services per year that provide advanced technology solutions to issues faced by that community. They also agree to share those applications with the others in the Smart Gigabit Communities program.

Today, Lexington is growing quickly. As a university city, Lexington has a high number of degreed professionals, a booming rate of entrepreneurship, a low cost of living, and an outsized arts and culture sector. This natural constellation of effects attracts research-based startups, advanced-technology industries, professional services, and corporate headquarters.
The Lexington community is already fostering several smart city initiatives which make the city a natural fit for the Smart Gigabit Communities network. These initiatives include developing communications tools that provide address-specific information to residents about city services.

“Lexington will be an excellent addition to our network of Smart Gigabit Communities,” said US Ignite Executive Director William Wallace. “I have no doubt that the City of Lexington will make significant contributions to their own community and to other Smart Gigabit Communities throughout the country. We look forward to collaborating with technologists, innovators, inventors and researchers in this community.”

From US Ignite

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