A Florida First: St. Pete Tapped as a Smart Gigabit Community

Spectrum Bay News 9's Al Ruechel moderates a panel discussion with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Executive Director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District Alison Barlow, and Florida Senator Jeff Brandes (not pictured).

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 25, 2019) — The Sunshine City joins the likes of Austin and Chattanooga, as one of U.S. Ignite's Smart Gigabit Cities.  Spectrum, a leading broadband communications company and the second largest cable operator in the United States, joined U.S. Ignite and the St. Petersburg Innovation District for a press conference to officially announce St. Petersburg as the 27th community in U.S. Ignite's network, and the first community in the State of Florida. 

Thanks to a three-year grant from Spectrum, the St. Pete Innovation District will oversee the implementation of the first two pilot projects already selected by an accelerated steering committee. Pilot projects will include a smart streetlight project, equipping streetlights with smart sensors to save energy, and an online marine education project connecting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast with the USF College of Marine Science’s research vessels and the scientists aboard those vessels.

The marine education program is set to hit the ground running in the next 12 months, according to Freddy Williams, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast.

US Ignite launched the Smart Gigabit Communities program with the National Science Foundation in 2015, and today the project includes twenty seven member communities. Each participating community in the program receives access to a low-latency and ultra-fast network with local cloud computing and storage capabilities that support highly interactive and visually immersive experiences not possible on today's commercial Internet.

“As a Smart Gigabit Community, the Sunshine City will be able to provide the very best tools to entrepreneurs, helping them build great companies and create real solutions for St. Petersburg,” Mayor Rick Kriseman said.

In a press release, William Wallace, Executive Director of U.S. Ignite said, "We are thrilled to welcome Spectrum and the St. Petersburg Innovation District to our Smart Gigabit Communities program as we continue to develop new opportunities for public-private collaboration.We strongly support the Innovation District's mission of developing St. Petersburg into an environment that fosters job growth, economic development, and learning and inspiration by bringing innovative people and organizations together, and we are confident they will be the catalyst for many exciting technological developments in St. Petersburg."

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