The first tangible step in the process of building a municipal network in Erie County has finally been set in motion, with funding approved for a consultant to do a study on the viability of a network in the region.

Thanks to the leadership of Legislator Pat Burke, and the forward thinking of Executive Poloncarz, Buffalo and Erie County are getting the ball rolling on upgrading and investing in the vital infrastructure of the twenty-first century.

This is a vital first step - the consultant will study our assets, gauge interest from residents and business, assess challenges, and perhaps lay out a tentative roadmap for where we should go. We are hopeful that everyone can use the consultant's findings to turn Buffalo into a world class Smart City.

Actually, if we look to one of the most prominent Smart Cities in the world, Stockholm, Sweden, we see that a municipal fiber-optic network is the foundation of every "smart" aspect of the city--from smart traffic signals, to a smart grid, to an open-access network with robust competitive choices for residents from ISPs (instead of our glorious TWC/Verizon DSL duopoly).

For those that are curious what this next step in the process will look like, Seattle recently completed its work with consultants at CTC Technologies to help them ascertain whether a broadband utility would work in their city.

Even though every city is different, there are still things for us to learn from other cities working in the same direction we're looking to go--especially those a few steps further down the road than we are! We plan to dive into the results of and concepts in the Seattle study in future blog posts, as well as discussing the concept of Smart Cities.

We're really excited that the County has put money behind this initiative for the betterment of the community. Hopefully the City will do the same soon, as well, and turn this into a County/City collaboration!

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