Make no mistake, digital connectivity and internet speed can be an accelerator or barrier to growth. To participate fully in the digital revolution, cities are required to have the enabling infrastructure that not only allows them to engage, but allows them to break through, and get to the front of the line.
And this enabling infrastructure, today, is a gigabit city network. World leading smart cities like Barcelona and Singapore have been reaping the benefits from gigabit capacity for years. Kansas City in the United States is a gigabit evangelist, and in the region here Launceston and Dunedin (NZ) have joined the gigabit city family.
On January 14, US President Barack Obama likened a city-run gigabit internet network to the "discovery of fire by humankind." "It's unleashing a tornado of innovation," he said. "It's like being the first city to have fire."
So, this goes well beyond the internet and the speed of connectivity. This is a foundational investment in the future — a business plan for the city that is highly competitive on the international stage.
But did I mention that Adelaide is becoming a Ten Gigabit City?
"The NBN will lift the game, but with a Ten Gigabit City network we can facilitate collaboration and opportunities like no other for our universities, the health sector, and other business sectors," says Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese.
Think about that for a minute. The City of Adelaide is providing businesses another choice for their cloud connections. It’s building a secondary CBD-wide network connecting businesses together and connecting the entire city to the cloud through interconnections, avoiding contention and congestion on the internet. Businesses no longer need to compete for bandwidth with domestic internet services like streaming TV and high definition multimedia.
It’s about companies being able to deal with their business and cloud services at lightning speed. And what does lighting speed look like?
The Ten Gigabit city has network speeds that are about 1,000 times faster than the national average, and 100 times faster than Australia’s NBN.
Speeds like that offer a Ten Gigabit City a world of new experiences, where data-based services become foundational to the new economy, the fourth industrial revolution.
What’s exciting is the new opportunities that will be created from the ability of deeper national and international collaboration. And collaboration through data will become the new 'capital' for city prosperity.
Adelaide businesses joined to the Ten Gigabit network will establish their own ecosystem, creating economies of scale that allow them the facility to solve problems through a level of digital collaboration never seen before.
As the City of Adelaide’s Chief Information Officer, Peter Auhl, described it, "A foundation for a modern economy, it allows us to create an app store of services for the city. Business will now have the tools for real time digital collaboration, it will strengthen value chains, foster innovation and unleash the Internet of Things."
The sharing of resources through the Ten Gigabit City network will generate significant value to the economy and create new business models. New businesses will rise, and existing ones will accelerate their success by having greater access to partners whose distance between them significantly shrinks.
Adelaide by nature will become the premier integrator by strengthening the value chain of businesses. New operating models and procurement processes will be created, truly preparing this city for the fourth industrial revolution. The city will simply operate faster, with greater agility, and provide enhanced products and services. It will be more transparent, and more sustainable.
In a world where small business struggles to be engaged in the digital revolution, Adelaide will be delivering digital inclusion in spades. This enabling infrastructure for a 'new world' smart city is only the start, but it's the start that matters, and one that will unleash opportunity and creativity never before seen in Australia.