Cox Communications said it sponsored a three-year private sector grant in Phoenix to have the city join the nationwide Smart Gigabit Communities project. Initiated in 2015 by US Ignite, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, the project is intended to build "a living lab of testbeds for smart gigabit applications."
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton pointed to the new Cox grant during his state of the city address this week. "This public-private partnership supported by the National Science Foundation and the White House is going to give Phoenix app developers exciting new tools to enhance the lives of our residents," he said.
US Ignite is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit stemming from the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation, and it is focused on fostering advances in health, energy and other sectors in part through faster internet connections. Other cities in the program include Cleveland, Ohio; Burlington, Vermont; and San Leandro, California.
"Cox Communications remains committed to deploying the latest gigabit infrastructure throughout our service areas, driving future innovations in education, healthcare and economic development that will benefit our communities," said John Wolfe, SVP and manager for Cox's Southwest Region. "We are proud to continue our leadership in gigabit infrastructure and excited to partner with the City of Phoenix and US Ignite to leverage our infrastructure to drive innovation."
Cox said it serves around 2.5 million subscribers in metro Phoenix. The company's 24,000-mile hybrid fiber coaxial cable network in the region offers TV, internet and telephone service.
Cox's deal with Phoenix raises the company's profile in the Arizonan capital city, and stands as somewhat of a knock against other service providers in the region, including CenturyLink and others.
Interestingly, Cox isn't the only company seeking closer ties to city governments. For example, Verizon recently struck an agreement to bring FiOS to Boston via a $300 million, six-year investment plan that will replace the city's aging copper network infrastructure with fiber. Boston leaders have pledged to help expedite the permitting process to encourage the new FTTH build out.
Phoenix's partnership with Cox was just one element of Mayor Stanton's efforts to spur economic progress in the city. For example, he also said the city is partnering with the University of Arizona and President Ann Weaver Hart to launch an incubator on the Biomedical Campus.
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