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Bridging the Digital Divide

City Alive Aligned Contributions, Connecting People and Places, Technology, Technology Commercialization

Bridging the Digital Divide

The evolution of building a smart city

“We are on the cusp of making a lot of great things happen. The smart city initiatives that are underway will narrow the digital divide and create economic opportunity for citizens and businesses alike.” Peter Ambs, Chief Information Officer at the City of Albuquerque

Recent investments in Albuquerque’s digital infrastructure are poised to provide more access to affordable high-speed internet for businesses and households across Albuquerque and will facilitate the City’s plans for new digital services like smart LED street lighting, faster crime reporting and smart parking meters, said Peter Ambs, Chief Information Officer at the City of Albuquerque.

This modernization is coming through a few channels. Most recently the City has made progress through a public-private partnership with CenturyLink and through a “dig once” strategy along the Central corridor during construction.

Dig once: Late last year, as part of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project (ART), the City began laying fiber optic line along Central Avenue. When the project is complete, high-speed, reliable broadband Internet will stretch from Louisiana to Coors, offering businesses and residents along the corridor access to faster, more affordable internet. Had the fiber been laid separately from ART, it could have increased the project cost by $1.5 million, according to estimates.

Public/private partnership: In January the City of Albuquerque also announced a public-private partnership with CenturyLink that will further fiber optic connections, offering broadband speeds at 40 critical City sites, including community service and public safety facilities. CenturyLink paid for the project and will recoup its investment under a five-year service agreement with the City, said Peter.

When these two projects are complete, Albuquerque will have gained an additional 13 miles of fiber-optic cable throughout the city. “We really want to level the playing field so every citizen can have access to broadband,” said Peter. “Today it is about creating additional options and opportunities so that anyone who wants to get a business class service, or gigabit services, can.”

Along Albuquerque’s Innovation Corridor this improvement in our digital infrastructure will be pivotal to spurring business creation and growth. With gigabit speeds, users can do virtual reality, video rendering and run applications that need really fast speeds – opening up opportunities for innovation led and second stage businesses to succeed and grow.

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