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Exploring New Opportunities with Fiber Networks

As state and local officials gear up to build fiber networks through BEAD and other programs, opportunities abound for leveraging various funding to demonstrate how to get the most economic and societal benefits out of their networks, according to the July 5 Fiber for Breakfast guest.

“Our mission is to help support underserved communities by helping them with their main challenges, but also through economic development or startup and research commercialization challenges,” said Nick Maynard, PhD, Co-founder and CEO, US Ignite. “How do you take a good idea out of a laboratory or somebody’s garage, and into the real world? Whether it’s right on top of fiber and extreme wireless or a combination of both of those technologies.”

Going into its second decade of operation, US Ignite currently works with 50 cities around the country to ensure digital equity alongside broadband access, exploring how to use smart city data responsibly, monitoring environmental conditions to make communities safer and healthier, and driving wireless innovation with other researchers at several startups. The educational non-profit intentionally works with a variety of real-world environments, including urban and rural areas, from smaller communities to large cities.

Project OVERCOME is the organization’s effort to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of broadband solutions available to communities wanting to expand internet access to underserved and unserved populations. Fiber plays a key role in enabling connectivity for community centers and to support last mile wireless deployments, creating best practice playbooks for communities to leverage.

US Ignite is also taking its work in helping build a broadband investment tool for New York State and expanding it to encompass the nation. “The State is putting together a Broadband Map that combines a wide range of industry and federal data,” said Maynard. “What we’re looking to do is identify those areas that need the most support, but then also which areas are going to have the most economic impact. So as the program gets deployed within the State of New York, we’ll [learn] what kind of economic impact they can expect within those communities.”

To learn more about US Ignite and its work with the National Science Foundation and Smart Cities, tune into the latest Fiber for Breakfast podcast.