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Greensboro, N.C. has been named a Smart Gigabit Community by fiber infrastructure company Segra — which is providing a three year grant to the project — and US Ignite, a non-profit aimed at accelerating the smart city movement. The Smart Gigabit Community is a National Science Foundation program.

The next step is the formation of a Greensboro Ignite steering group, which will have about 10 members drawn from the city’s public, private and philanthropic communities. The committee will identify and prioritize resources needed to complete a detailed work plan, map out an innovation district, assess current network challenges and opportunities and expand Internet access.

The committee will create a pilot implementation plan to address challenges including privacy, cost, placement and coverage and bring Internet options to underserved areas of the city.

Greensboro’s Information Technology Department also will be involved. The department will attend meetings with US Ignite partners and mentor networks where it will share updates, challenges, successes and plans for future collaboration.

Segra is regional fiber network provider with a footprint across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. It operates a 30K fiber-route mile network and 9 data centers. Segra also owns Lumos Networks and Northstate, both of whom serve residential and small business

“This partnership will help advance Greensboro’s Smart City initiatives, which focus on expanding broadband and connectivity, promoting innovation and technology-based entrepreneurship,” Jane Nickles, the City of Greensboro’s chief information officer, said in a press release about the Greensboro Smart Gigabit Community news. “Through this partnership, we will have access to resources that will enable us to accelerate our efforts to expand high-speed internet options and put a spotlight on innovation in Greensboro.”

In October, US Ignite launched Project OVERCOME with a $1.945 million grant from the NSF. The money is earmarked to fund and build out five proof-of-concept projects that will accelerate delivery of broadband services to unserved and underserved communities.

The NSF also showed its largesse to Iowa and Nebraska. In late July it gave $300,000 each to wireless testbeds in each state that are managed by the Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program. The two are ARA, which is a project of Iowa State University and the city of Ames. The other recipient is the Nebraska Experimental Testbed of Things (NEXTT). Both projects are considered finalists to become the fourth city-scale wireless research testbed in a program managed by the PAWR.

Cox Communications and US Ignite designated Las Vegas a US Ignite Smart Gigabit Community in March 2018.

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