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What is US Ignite

US Ignite spurs the creation of next-generation applications and services that leverage advanced networking technologies to build the foundation for smart communities, including cities, rural areas, regions, and states. The nonprofit organization helps to accelerate new wired and wireless networking advances from research to prototype to full-scale smart community and interconnected national deployments.

US Ignite’s Smart Gigabit Communities program accelerates the adoption of ultra-fast, programmable fiber and wireless networks as the bedrock of smart communities by identifying new economic and social opportunities created by those networks. US Ignite believes that the communities most likely to become the first smart communities are those with widespread, open, and flexible advanced networks. With deep fiber and advanced storage and computing deployed locally, some communities have many of the necessary smart components already in place. Smart Gigabit Communities including Austin, Burlington, Chattanooga, Lafayette, Kansas City, Cleveland and others have taken the first, hardest step toward becoming smart communities, and they are advancing their efforts further by installing sensors and developing applications to connect those sensors to the existing compute and storage platforms via fiber or wireless networks.

To help create the new wireless networks that will power  smart community  sensors and services, US Ignite is leading the Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) Project Office, coordinating a public-private partnership of federal agencies and over 25 leading corporations that is building wireless research testbeds representing investment of over $100M in at least four communities across the United States.

In US Ignite’s broader vision, a true  smart community will be deeply sensorized and will allow for the flow of real-time data over next generation wireless networks to the community’s low-latency, programmable fiber network.  From there, data will stream to a resilient and highly-responsive community-based local cloud.  Decisions made on that platform can then be turned into real-time actions which are communicated, in just a few thousandths of a second, to distributed municipal, public safety, and privately-operated smart community systems. A partner community can, using applications and services developed via US Ignite initiatives, better and more resiliently innovate many of its core services and improve the lives of its citizens.

Drawn from among US Ignite’s over 100 application prototypes in the areas of public safety, healthcare, education, energy, transportation, and advanced manufacturing, imagine the example of a community whose first responders are able to stitch together real-time video and data from sensors, body and dashboard cameras to improve their response times and save citizens’ lives. Or, in the field of education, imagine an application that enables STEM students in a rural community to learn biology in new, immersive ways by viewing microorganisms under a 4k microscope online, remotely operating the microscope in real-time, and simultaneously holding high-definition video conferences with world-class university researchers – all from thousands of miles away via a low-latency, ultra-high-speed connection.

These collaborative efforts among research universities, local communities and industry, encouraged by US Ignite, will yield breakthroughs in new wired and wireless networking technologies. The applications and services that result from this work will help enrich residents’ lives while generating improved, potentially transformative, community services, investment in high-growth startups, and high-skilled jobs.

*It is the policy of US Ignite to not pay indirect expenses such as program administration and overhead due to the relatively small size of the grants made by the organization.  Exceptions will be made for certain grant programs, on a case‐by‐case basis, at the sole discretion of US Ignite management.