NSF Initiative Branches Out to Metro AreaBY RENE THOMPSON US Ignite is teaming up with the city to finally bring fiber optic Internet to the Albuquerque metro area. The announcement, made Wednesday, will bring more accessible and faster Internet services to the Innovation District along Route 66. Mayor Richard Berry said “Deploying fiber along Route 66 will support the community’s evolution into a globally connected commercial center.” US Ignite, which is a nonprofit, picked Albuquerque along with 14 other “Smart Gigabit Communities” and accrued $6 million in grants from the National Science Foundation for the project. Their ultimate goal is to create 60 next-generation Internet applications that span across 200 communities throughout the U.S. The company said the project will provide transformative benefits in six sectors to include health care, education, public safety, energy, transportation and advanced manufacturing. Executive Director of US Ignite William Wallace said it was a number of important assets that brought their company to Albuquerque, such as a thriving entrepreneurial culture, and strong capabilities in film/media and health care. Mayoral spokesman Rhiannon Schroeder said the Central Avenue fiber project will run the length of the ART project down Route 66. She said the city will pay US Ignite $10,000 a year to have the project here. Schroeder added that the project will demonstrate the importance of ultra-fast broadband connectivity to key institutions such as schools and libraries. Creating a next-generation gigabit test bed in Albuquerque by encouraging the deployment of a fiber network infrastructure will accelerate the city’s growth while providing a local public benefit, she said. Rene Thompson is a staff writer at ABQ Free Press. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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