Two Smart City Summits with a wealth of wisdom and opportunities to offer

May 20th, 2016

It’s “Déjà Vu All Over Again”

These immortal words of the late great Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees seem appropriate today with the production of two Toronto based Smart City Summits scheduled two weeks apart on May 26th and June 9-10th, 2016. It was twenty two years ago in 1994 when we first pulled together a large group to plan Toronto’s Smart City transformation. I teamed up with several other esteemed colleagues to co-found the original Smart Toronto organization and Summit. Roots from Smart Toronto’94 were replanted in 2004 to start the Waterfront Toronto Intelligent Community program and they blossomed to the point where in 2014 Toronto with Waterfront Toronto was named global Intelligent Community of the Year. Now, some exciting and different but related future opportunities will be discussed, debated and prioritized but with different goals during the two Toronto Summits.

This post is written from the perspective of my dual role in the leadership of both Summits: Co-Chair of the Smart Cities Working Group of the Smart Cities Summit: Towards a Connected Toronto Region, (May 26th), produced by the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT), and Chair of the i-CANADA Alliance, producer of the World Future Cities Summit (June 9-10). Both Summits will be very interesting events and there is a connection between the two events.

The TRBOT Summit will feature approximately 200 participants, mainly from the Toronto Region, who will study, debate and recommend a series of high level goals and priorities for moving the City of Toronto to the “next level” in urban transformation. This next level will include smart, intelligent, sustainable, resilient, creative, cultural and inclusive dimensions within a broad framework of economic, environmental and social objectives. The agenda is described at:

The World Future Cities Summit (WFCS) has a national and international focus in three areas:

  1. Community transformation; goals, new opportunities and best practices
  2. International sales development with senior officials in attendance from India’s 100 Smart Cities program, the world’s largest market for smart city products and services, and
  3. Organization of the Rising Communities Caucus of i-CANADA. This Caucus will provide an ongoing focus on the aspirations, opportunities and lessons learned in the digital transformation of Canada’s smaller cities and towns.

WFCS is further described in detail at


Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT) Smart Cities Summit

This will feature an interesting blend of national and international panelists and speakers, including the following sample:

  • Mark Kleinman, Director of Economic and Business Policy for the Mayor of London, UK
  • Volker Buscher, Arup, Director of Digital Business
  • Harout Chitilian, City of Montreal, Vice Chair of the Montreal Executive Committee
  • Chris Dwelley, City of Boston, Citywide Performance Manager
  • Stuart Cowen, Chief Scientist, US Smart Cities Council
  • Dr. Sara Diamond, President and CEO, OCAD University
  • Dr. Patricia McCarney, President and CEO, World Council on City Data
  • Stephen Buckley, General Manager, Transportation Services, City of Toronto
  • Rob Meikle, CIO, City of Toronto
  • Kristina Verner, Director, Intelligent Communities, Waterfront Toronto

These speakers will provide background as input for nine breakout groups organized within three themes. Each of the nine groups will produce a number of recommended priorities for Toronto’s future planning according to the focus of their group. The three themes and the focus of each group is as follows:

  • Environment:
    • Infrastructure Energy, Water and Transportation
    • Resiliency
    • Urban Planning and Design
  • Social:
    • Health and Well Being
    • Safety and Security
    • Culture and Entertainment
  • Economy:
    • Employment and Talent
    • Research and Innovation
    • Investments

At the end of the day, this TRBOT Summit will likely have identified a few priorities for the City of Toronto as it moves forward with its ongoing planning and urban transformation over the next few years. This same planning and related framework will inform future TRBOT initiatives as TRBOT fulfills its regional role working with other communities in the Toronto Region. What is impressive about this initiative is the world’s leading Smart Cities have all included broad community collaboration in their roadmap to winning global awards as leaders. This Summit provides a great example and effective framework for appropriate collaboration.

Learn more here.


World Future Cities Summit (WFCS)

Details of the agenda are at and some examples of speakers include:

  • Pratap Padode, Founder and Director, Smart Cities Council, India
  • Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, President and CEO, MaRS Discovery District
  • Seven Adler, IBM Global Leader, Information Strategy, New York
  • Eric Deschenes, Vice President, North American Energy Division, Schneider Electric
  • Professor Eric Miller, Director, International Transportation Institute, University of Toronto
  • Janet De Silva, President and CEO Toronto Region Board of Trade
  • Dan Mathieson, Mayor, Stratford, Ontario
  • David Sandel, Founder, Gigabit City Summit, Kansas City
  • Fawn Annan, President and Group Publisher, IT World Canada
  • Rick Bonnett, Mayor of Halton Hills
  • Mark Romoff, President and CEO, Canadian Council of Public Private Partnerships
  • Dr. Michael Shepherd, Professor, Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University and previously Dean of Computer Science for 7 years
  • Dr. Sara Diamond, President and CEO, OCAD University
  • Dr. Patricia McCarney, President and CEO, World Council on City Data
  • Marianne Treschow, Royal Swedish Academy for Engineering Sciences

Janet De Silva, President and CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade will provide an important link between the two Summits, as will I informally. She will present to a panel at WFCS the high level summary of priority recommendations from the TRBOT Summit and there will be an opportunity for dialog and feedback at WFCS.

Included in WFCS is an evening of musical entertainment on June 9th produced by Luminato at “the Hearn” in Toronto’s Portlands. The idea is to convey the importance of entertainment in our future cities and the Hearn as a living example of potential revitalization of a very large heritage structure.

Hope to see you at one or both of these fine events!

i-CANADA Congratulates Canadian Intelligent Community Finalists

February 17th, 2016

February 10, 2016 – Bill Hutchison, Chair and Co-Founder of i-CANADA, adds his congratulations today to the cities of Montreal, Winnipeg and Surrey for being named a “Top7 Intelligent Community” by the Intelligent Community Forum in New York.


“The Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year provide role models for the world’s best practices in creating competitive local economies and vibrant societies in today’s hyper-competitive global economy,” said Mr. Hutchison. “Having Canadian cities named as three of those Top 7 communities reinforces Canada’s reputation as the foremost nation for success in the transformation of communities to achieve new levels of economic, social and environmental leadership.”

In the “broadband economy,” adaptability outweighs legacy; skills rather than resources are the keys to the future, and innovation, not location, creates a competitive advantage.

“We have many other cities in Canada under development as Intelligent Communities,” added i-CANADA co-Founder Barry Gander. “Canada absolutely needs this leadership, as 30% of our economy depends on exports – and innovation is the key to global commerce.”

Click on the link below to learn more about the Top7 communities.

i-CANADA is the pan-Canadian movement dedicated to creating a nation of Intelligent Communities large and small, rural and urban, where all enjoy the economic development, job growth and social prosperity now available in the world’s leading communities. The i-Canada Governors Council is comprised of provincial Premiers, Mayors and CEOs of institutions and major corporations. i-CANADA has been a prime mover in Canada’s record showings in the global Intelligent Community contest by providing active transformational programs featuring the best practices of the world’s “smartest” and most intelligent communities. The goal is to have 150 Canadian cities and towns all competing successfully for international awards, or internationally ranked in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

Learn more at

“Because it is 2015!”

November 18th, 2015

When asked “why the focus on gender balance in your new Cabinet?” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answered “because it is 2015”. The answer hit a positive nerve and went viral! He could have used the same answer if asked “Why the new designation for Industry Canada and the naming of a Science Minister?”

The fact is we need a new Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, supported by a new Minister of Science because Canada’s federal government has a broader role to play as we and the rest of the world rocket along in the expanding digital age. We need to focus on our entire economy. Meanwhile, we do need to recognize that fifty percent of Canada’s economic output is clustered in our five largest cities and cities with smart and intelligent ecosystems attract investment, create jobs and produce more economic output.

In the Globe and Mail earlier this month, Richard Florida, noted author and academic argues for the creation of a Ministry of Cities. It would certainly increase the focus on cities and could take a while to establish. Meanwhile we need action immediately, as we are falling behind other developed countries.

Semiconductor circuits are at the heart of our digital transformation. Their cost/performance characteristics have improved one billion times since the early 1960’s and that performance improvement will grow to 20 billion in the short time between now and 2020. Like it or not, our economy is riding on an accelerating digital rocket ship to the future and we urgently need new ideas, processes and programs to merely keep up in our public and private sectors – nationally, regionally and locally.

We should quickly bring to Canada some relevant international urban innovation programs that have already gained traction in other countries, emulate them as appropriate for Canada, implement them and then improve on them. Many nations have used this strategy to catch up or get ahead. We need to move quickly to encourage collaboration between leaders in the public and private sectors supported by effective national and regional funding to create big Smarter City demonstrations. Successful companies will then have Canadian customers to reference in their pursuit of five percent of the global trade in the Smart City market, which incidentally would be $50 billion per year according to present estimates.

Here are two examples of impressive international programs: The first is in the UK where four years ago the UK Government’s public/private sector Smart Cities Forum encouraged the UK government to create a three hundred and seventy million pound Smart Cities Innovation fund to support cities with successful proposals for Smart City demonstrator programs. Glasgow won 28 million pounds in the first round. The fund challenges cities and their citizens to create new innovations and demonstrations, involving at least 1000 people, to demonstrate new concepts for Smarter City initiatives.

The program has a second goal too; to raise UK business and industrial capabilities sufficient to capture 10% of the global Smart City market which the UK government estimates to be worth one trillion dollars per year. In other words, the UK program is a “twofer”: First, the program results in new Smarter City demonstrator initiatives supported by the funds received by the winning cities and then the companies that receive much of the money from the cities to design and implement the new systems will use their new-found knowledge and solutions to pursue and capture – they hope – $100 billion per year, (10%), of global Smart City business.

us-ignite-logoAnother innovative international program is US IGNITE in the United States. It was created as part of President Obama’s initial stimulus program after the economic collapse in 2008. It is now driving many impressive urban and business innovations in communities across the US. Canada’s academic research community has connections into US IGNITE with the result that a number of very interesting innovation initiatives could be quickly introduced into Canada.

We have islands of excellence in Canada upon which to build while the global digital “rocket ship” has already launched heading for “who knows where”. All we know is it is moving quickly while creating Big Data, Open Data and the Internet of Things with new innovations like autonomous vehicles on the horizon. We need to grab the opportunities urgently, ride the rocket ship or fall off. We can do it “because it is 2015” and we have some great assets. But we also need to hurry “because it is 2015” and others are racing ahead.

“The overall goal is to create a more convenient life”

June 22nd, 2015

The Smart City and Intelligent Community movements started twenty years ago, and have now turned into multi-billion pound global industries, says EY’s Bill Hutchison, co-founder and chair of i-CANADA and executive director of the Center for Smart City Innovation.

When Bill Hutchison moved to Singapore from Toronto in 1996, he found himself at the beginning of what has proved to be a huge global transformation of the way communities live and work in our cities.

“Singapore had started a business plan to create ‘Smart Island’, and Silicon Valley had its ‘Smart Valley’,” he recalls. These were early days for smart intelligent communities, but Hutchison had already created Smart Toronto in 1994 through his work with Ernst & Young, and so he was already ahead of the game.

“I was very much involved in the creation of a Russian smart city as an EY partner,” he recalls. “The Russian government wanted to create the city Skolkovo on the edge of Moscow, primarily for young people to live and work, but it would also become a model for the rest of Russia. As I had experience of the Toronto project, I was able to get things moving in Russia and I am still a member of The International Advisory Council based in Moscow.”

The project was shelved when Vladimir Putin came to power, and the smart city focus shifted to Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan government wants its capital city to become one of the world’s top cities by 2017, and Hutchison is finding himself spending longer amounts of time there.

Read the complete article here.

Smart city: Not just a tech project; community goals count

March 25th, 2015

Many look at smart city projects as an IT project. However use of technology should not be the end goal, but it should be a means to achieve community goals.

I recently collaborated with Srivatsa Anchan on this article for India’s

Not all “smart” city investments are very smart. Today we have billions of dollars being spent to transform our cities, towns and rural districts into Smart Cities, Intelligent Communities, Living Cities, Sustainable Cities and Green Cities. Even the names are confusing. Beyond the proliferation of jargon, what’s really happening to change the nature of city building today? Why all the fuss and investment, and are the strategies the same in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as in the developed countries? China began creating one hundred Smart Cities five years ago and now Indian Prime Minister Modi has announced his intent to create one hundred Smart cities in the next five years. On his recent trip to India, President Obama offered to support India in the creation of three Smart Cities in India. Can everyone participate and achieve the benefits of this new urban transformation driven by technology?

First, what’s happening and why should you care? Technology driven transformation along with new product innovation has created the rapid growth of smart phones and tablet computers with more power than mainframe computers that filled large rooms fifty years ago. But this is just the tip of an iceberg. Thousands of new applications have turned our cars into computers on wheels and “disrupted” yesterday’s products, systems, services and now our cities. The camera market is just one example of how the rapid pace of innovation works to the advantage of some and not others: the rise of digital cameras virtually put Polaroid and Kodak out of business. The room-sized computer inside the old mainframe computer system now fits on the head of a pin, but who cares? The question is what are the applications and how can we benefit from them, in context of city development, and future habitat’s?

Read the complete article here.

Recommended reading: The Future of Cities – The Internet of Everything will Change How We Live

November 13th, 2014

Here is an excerpt from “The Future of Cities – The Internet of Everything will Change How We Live”, an article by John Chambers and Wim Elfrink from the October 31, 2014 edition of Foreign Affairs, published by the Council on Foreign Relations.

As much as the Internet has already changed the world, it is the Web’s next phase that will bring the biggest opportunities, revolutionizing the way we live, work, play, and learn.

That next phase, which some call the Internet of Things and which we call the Internet of Everything, is the intelligent connection of people, processes, data, and things. Although it once seemed like a far-off idea, it is becoming a reality for businesses, governments, and academic institutions worldwide. Today, half the world’s population has access to the Internet; by 2020, two-thirds will be connected. Likewise, some 13.5 billion devices are connected to the Internet today; by 2020, we expect that number to climb to 50 billion. The things that are—and will be—connected aren’t just traditional devices, such as computers, tablets, and phones, but also parking spaces and alarm clocks, railroad tracks, street lights, garbage cans, and components of jet engines.

All of these connections are already generating massive amounts of digital data—and it doubles every two years. New tools will collect and share that data (some 15,000 applications are developed each week!) and, with analytics, that can be turned into information, intelligence, and even wisdom, enabling everyone to make better decisions, be more productive, and have more enriching experiences.

Read the complete article here.

How Smart is Your ‘Smart City’ and Why Should You Care?

December 17th, 2013

How Smart is Your Smart City and Why Should You Care?

William Hutchison

This article by William G. Hutchison appeared in a recent issue of BRICS Business Magazine. A version of the article is also available in Russian. (pdf)

Dozens of urban development projects, from Malaysia to Siberia, claim to be technologically advanced, comfortable and ‘sophisticated,’ with a cognitive-cultural economy to boot. They all need to sort out what they really are – and whether or not their plans are obsolete.

Not all ‘smart city’ investments are very smart. Today we have billions of dollars being invested in transforming our cities, towns and rural districts into ‘smart cities,’ ‘intelligent communities,’ ‘living cities,’ ‘sustainable cities’ and ‘green cities.’ Even the names are confusing. What’s happening? Why all the fuss and investment? And are the strategies the same in the BRICS nations as they are in developed countries? What about small emerging markets? Can everyone participate and benefit in this new technology-driven urban transformation?

First, what’s happening, and why should you care? Technology transformation and new product innovations have created the rapid growth of smartphones and tablets with more power than the mainframe computers that filled large rooms 50 years ago. But this is just the tip of an iceberg of thousands of new applications that have turned our cars into computers-on-wheels, and disrupted thousands of other products and systems. The camera market is just one example: digital cameras put Polaroid and Kodak out of business. The room-sized computer now fits on the head of a pin, but who cares? The question is, what are the applications and how can we benefit from them?

It was not until the early 1990s, 20 years ago, that the concept of ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’ communities was first introduced into the public mind, with the appearance of Singapore’s Intelligent Island, Silicon Valley’s Smart Valley, and Smart Toronto. But like all disruptive innovations, this technology-driven wave of urban transformation has taken time to gestate before coming out in full force to make obsolete those cities and towns that are not innovating to transform themselves and keep ahead of the wave.

Comparisons are drawn with cities and towns in Britain and Europe which prospered when canals were important forms of transportation. They lost their economic power when the railway ran in another direction or when, in the U.S., the new interstate highways bypassed prosperous towns, which then declined.

When engaging in urban transformation or new community development, the high-level goals for a community can generally be categorized as economic, social or environmental. Naturally these are not independent of each other, but all activities and goals usually fit into one or two of those three categories. Transforming towards a new future state requires many things, but innovation is certainly a common theme. The three categories are a useful reference point when discussing the terms ‘smart,’ ‘intelligent,’ ‘living,’ ‘green’ and ‘sustainable.’

Some people use ‘sustainable’ and ‘green’ in the same breath, to mean that communities with more effective green policies will be more sustainable; sometimes the terms are used interchangeably.

The ‘living cities’ movement has its roots in the work of Jane Jacobs and other social pioneers who, in essence, were focused on urban designs that created great places and neighborhoods. They are characterized by plenty of parks, the elimination of high-speed expressways that cut through cities and neighborhoods, great facilities for cycling, and a general focus on the citizens’ socializing and comfort.

‘Smart’ cities have many degrees of smartness. Some people claim they have a smart city when they have automated their traffic lights and installed cameras for increased security. It is interesting that many of today’s smart city automations are following the same dynamic that government and businesses followed 40 to 50 years ago. There was no overarching strategic approach or framework within which the investment in technology was supporting strategic goals. Automation was really viewed as a cost reduction and productivity improvement for a specific application. There is nothing wrong with that approach, but it misses the extra value that is available when you tie automation to an overall strategic framework.

In the late 1980s the concept of ‘strategic alignment’ was introduced by two MIT professors. They used the term to describe the alignment between an organization’s investment in technology and its strategic goals and directions. Strategic alignment seems like an obvious requirement in business and government systems today, but it was mainly ignored for the first 30 years of business automation and it is being ignored today in many smart city initiatives.

So it sometimes seems as if we are starting over in this relatively new area of applying technology to urban life and systems, as we create the ‘Live, Learn, Work and Play’ environment for tomorrow’s citizens.

But an evolution is occurring in the maturing of smart city systems, from the automation of a few specific applications like traffic lights and security features, to systems that do include strategic alignment. To help reduce the confusion of terms it is useful to think in terms of Smart City 1.0 and 2.0 – and now the early stages of Smart City 3.0.

Smart City 1.0 is like those old business and government systems where individual applications were automated without reference to the overall strategy of the organization. Smart City 2.0 has early forms of strategic alignment. Smart City 3.0 includes sophisticated strategic alignment and early forms of intelligence in the applications and communications infrastructure. Naturally there are no hard boundaries, but in general these terms are useful when discussing the differences between applications in various countries and regions of the world, and the difference between a smart city and an intelligent community.

The phrase ‘intelligent community’ was defined in the late 1990s by the New York-based Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). An intelligent community consists of broadband, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital inclusion, advocacy.

Smart21 Communities for 2014 by ICF

Community Country Population
Arlington County, Virginia USA 210,300
Coffs Harbour,New South Wales Australia 70,900
Columbus, Ohio USA 809,800
Heraklion, Crete Greece 150,000
Hsinchu City Taiwan 427,000
Kingston, Ontario Canada 159,500
Mitchell, South Dakota USA 15,000
Montreal Metropolitan Area, Quebec Canada 3,957,700
Nairobi County Kenya 4,000,000
New Taipei City Taiwan 3,949,800
Parkland County, Alberta Canada 30,500
Prospect, South Australia Australia 20,000
Quebec City, Quebec Canada 728,900
Rio de Janeiro Brazil 6,323,000
Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia 322,600
Taoyuan County Taiwan 2,038,000
Toronto, Ontario Canada 2,791,000
Walla Walla Washington USA 31,900
Wanganui New Zealand 43,000
Whittlesea, Victoria Australia 176,500
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada 778,400

For 14 years the ICF has held an annual competition for the Intelligent Community of the Year, based on the mentioned elements. Each year they add an area of focus, like innovation or collaboration. They receive a few hundred applications each summer, narrow them down to 21 semifinalists – the ‘Smart 21’ – and then again down to seven finalists in January. The winner is announced at a gala in New York in June. Singapore, Stockholm, Eindhoven and Taipei are among the past winners of the award.

The main differences between an intelligent community and other designations are the existence of an overall strategic framework, collaboration between all community players in creating that strategy and agreeing goals, and the use of technology in achieving those goals.

For example, if it is agreed that the community wants interactive healthcare services in the home, through communication with a nurse or doctor via camera, then the technology, regulations and processes are implemented to provide the service.

Technology is not the end goal: it is the enabler, in all cases. All applications and services fit within an overall strategic community framework that is created before the automation investment begins. Smart City 2.0 and definitely 3.0 approach this standard.

So where are we with these urban transformation initiatives in various parts of the world? Really effective and open collaboration between citizens and their governments is generally more prevalent in Western democracies and developed countries. The more autocratic the national and municipal leadership, the less there is community collaboration, and the more the government decides what is required. That difference usually leads to an automation approach characteristic of Smart City 1.0: automation of specific functions, but very little strategic alignment. This is not intended as a comment on the pros and cons of various forms of government; it is merely a statement of fact, as many other factors determine the most appropriate form of government and governance.

As in the case of early business automation, each application or project can still be valuable in terms of cost reduction and/or productivity improvement. In civic terms it may be improved traffic flow with a positive impact on gas emissions and overall efficiency, or improved security in terms of cameras, lighting and sensors. But it is in the Western democracies where we are generally seeing the evolution of Smart City 3.0 and intelligent communities. They are the ones gaining the extra leverage from their investment by connecting it to an overall strategic framework that also includes the power of citizen participation in establishing priorities.

Cities, towns and rural areas around the world have great stories to tell about their efforts to transform themselves. The internet is spreading throughout Africa, and broadband is expanding and increasing in speed everywhere.

On 21 October this year the ICF announced its Smart 21 shortlist for the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year award. They include one community in each of Kenya, Greece, Brazil and New Zealand, as well as six in Canada, four each in the U.S. and Australia, and three in Taiwan.

Chinese, Japanese and Korean cities have won the award in previous years, but India and Russia have not yet made the list. Having said that, there is an impressive wave of new smart city activity in both countries, and cities in places like Kazakhstan will quickly move up the ranks as a result of their present initiatives.

Touting the wide ranging benefits of smart cities in Kazakhstan

May 30th, 2013

Bill Hutchison was interviewed about the wide ranging benefits of smart cities at a recent Media City forum in Kazakhstan.

Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran greets Russian Investor Serguei Kouzmine: Quantum Computing Investor Praises Waterloo as ”Quantum Valley”

February 4th, 2013

CATA Alliance

Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada – February 2, 2013 Serguei Kouzmine , Managing Partner of Q-Wave Capital, travelled to Waterloo to assess investment opportunities in the fields of Quantum Computing and Nanotechnology. “This is an unbelievable facility,” said Mr. Kouzmine of the Institute for Quantum Computing. “It has everything; I am looking forward to a return visit very soon.”

“We see our quantum-nano hub as the new “Quantum Valley” of the next era,” said Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran. “The build-up of the software industry had its roots in ‘Silicon Valley’; now we are reprising it in a new age with Waterloo’s Quantum Valley.”

“Quantum and nano-technology will quite simply revolutionize the world,” stated i-CANADA Chair Bill Hutchison. “They will transform every sector of our work and lives. Waterloo is a new Eden.”

Read the complete announcement here.

New FCC Initiative Confirms i-CANADA High-Speed Goal

January 23rd, 2013

i-CANADA Chair: “Canada must to return to global leadership level”

January 22, 2013 — Bill Hutchison, Chair of i-CANADA, said today that an FCC initiative to put 1Gps speed into at least one city in each state by 2015 “is another important initiative that demonstrates that i-CANADA is bang on in our goal for Canadian communications – we know what we’re talking about.”

i-CANADA is the national movement to create a nation of Intelligent Communities, all enjoying the economic prosperity and full employment that comes from immersion in the global “ideas economy”.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski told the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday last week, that he was starting a new push for fast networks that he called the Gigabit City Challenge.

Gigabit-speed Internet access stimulates technology innovation and associated economic growth, Genachowski said: “The U.S. needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness,” Genachowski cited Google’s new network in Kansas City and a fiber network built by a local utility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he said and other companies have created more than 3,700 new jobs over the past three years.

“Our Governors Council Resolution calling for 1Gps speed for all Canadians by 2020 is more than a realistic expectation,” said Mr. Hutchison. “It is an absolute necessity if we are to keep stride with the nations of Asia, Europe and Africa. Canadians need access to the kinds of services that the ultra-broadband networks deliver, and our knowledge industries need to use these networks to create the profitable sectors that others are obtaining.

“At the moment we are moving forward to expand our Governors’ Council to 100 members in support of the Motion passed by our Governors’ Council at our October Summit, to encourage the creation of a national coalition involving all relevant parties to create a plan that will ensure availability of 1 GBS service where relevant for all Canadians by 2020. The service must be globally competitive or better as to features, cost and performance in order to raise Canada to be one of the world’s leaders in communications infrastructure and services. We were there prior to and up to the 1980s.”

Recently, i-CANADA delegates met with Jean-Pierre Blais, the new Chair of the CRTC, to support his position on the importance of a more connected Canada. Blais brings a strong legal background and a comprehensive understanding of the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors to his role at the CRTC. His goals are to:

  • Sharpen the Commission’s focus on the public interest—putting Canadians at the centre of their communication system
  • Give Canadians access to compelling and diverse, creative content
  • Ensure that Canadians can connect to innovative communications services at reasonable prices
  • Give healthy competition among multiple service providers

The i-CANADA delegation exchanged views with Chairman Blais’ about a consumer-centric, open network, from a 360-degree circle of interests, including novel financing methods, community networking, ultra-fast broadband, and large-scale urban development.

“It is clear that Canada’s global slide demands a new approach: consumer-centric access to diverse creative content over competitive networks,” said Mr, Hutchison. “We need to see Canada adopting the kind of high-strategy approach of the FCC.”

See also:

To find out the results of this meeting or to speak with a representative from i-CANADA, please contact Elaine Dean:

In other news:

IT World Canada

i-Canada pushing ultra-broadband plan

Group wants a broad coalition from the public and private sector to come up with a plan so every Canadian home gets 1 Gbps Internet access by 2020

With the long promised federal digital economy strategy nowhere in sight, a group of Canadian political, business and private sector leaders continues to push for an independent coalition to create the framework to build an ultra-broadband network.

Read the complete article here.