Chattanooga was featured on Monday, in the launch of Next Century Cities, a bipartisan, city-to-city initiative dedicated to ensuring the availability of next-generation broadband Internet for all communities.
“Right now, there is an excitement over what cities can accomplish and Next Century Cities can help take that excitement to the next level.
From building Innovation Districts and the resurgence of entrepreneurship to supporting growth through infrastructure, the environment, and economic development, cities are developing and implementing innovative solutions that make life better for communities across the country,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.
In 2010, Chattanooga became the first city in the United States to provide community-wide gigabit service. Since that time, Chattanooga has witnessed a strong resurgence in entrepreneurism with an increased focus on technology and innovation. Earlier this year, Mayor Berke took an established organization called The Enterprise Center and refocused it to capitalize on these technological assets with the goal of further growing Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial efforts as well as bridging the digital divide. In March, Mayor Berke announced the creation of an Innovation District, a co-located space that will serve as the center of Chattanooga’s innovation and technology sector.
“The Gig infrastructure changed the way we see ourselves in Chattanooga, it changed the idea of what our city could be,” Mayor Berke said. “Mid-sized Southern cities in the U.S. are not generally thought of as being ahead of the technological curve. The Gig changed that. We are now ahead of the curve, with other cities looking to us as a leader in the Innovation Century.”
With Monday’s Next Century Cities launch, Chattanooga joins 32 cities nationwide, working together to recognize the importance of leveraging gigabit-level Internet to attract new businesses and create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities.
“Across the country, we’re seeing cities hungry to deploy high-speed Internet to transform communities and connect residents to better jobs, better health care, and better education for their children,” said Deb Socia, executive director of Next Century Cities. “Mayor Berke is joining with other leaders across the country to roll up their sleeves and get the job done. Next Century Cities is committed to celebrating these successes, demonstrating their value, and helping other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband.”
Together with Chattanooga, Next Century Cities will support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. Participating cities will work with each other to learn about what works - and what doesn’t - so that every community has access to information that can help them succeed. Cities will also work together to raise awareness of this important issue to all Americans.
Today’s launch, held at a dynamic co-working space for Santa Monica’s technology companies, convened mayors and other leaders from cities, including Boston, Palo Alto, Portland, and Santa Monica, for a cross-cutting discussion of what’s worked in their cities and how to expand fast and reliable Internet nationwide.
Founding city leaders agreed on the importance of next-generation broadband for thriving 21st century communities. The launch event also featured a group discussion among additional mayors, a demonstration of the potential of gigabit Internet connections for cities, and a panel with leading technology officials.
Next Century Cities: Inaugural Partner Cities