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Federal Funding Fuels Smart City Transformation

Lauren Farah Manager, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 8 Jun 2021

Closing the digital divide requires a bit more than the best of intentions. The pandemic put the issue in perspective, as each gap, chasm or aperture was instantly under the spotlight. Cities like Sacramento, Philadelphia, Houston, and Chattanooga are taking steps to address infrastructure shortfalls, and delivering necessary broadband service to underserved residents.

The sheer cost of Smart City initiatives in year’s past proved prohibitive, but with mounting demand on the network – from remote education and a virtual workforce, to the population at large – the federal government stepped in with funding efforts.

With the objective of bringing back jobs, plugging holes of the digital divide, and returning economic stability, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan delivering $1.9 trillion in total relief funding and specifically, $350 billion for eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments.

How does that $350 billion breakdown?

  • $195.3 billion to States & District of Columbia
  • $65 billion to Counties
  • $45.6 billion to Metropolitan Cities
  • $20 billion to Tribal Governments
  • $4.5 billion to Territories
  • $19.5 Non-entitlement Units of Local Government

Where is this money going?

  • Address K-12 educational obstacles
  • Support institutions of higher learning
  • Provide schools and libraries the ability to support teachers and students with Internet service, provide connected devices and additional necessary equipment
  • Contact tracing, COVID-19 testing and mitigation
  • Vaccine distribution and communication
  • Deliver airports with devices, solutions capable of halting the spread of pathogens
  • Modernization any system, technology or program of any state-based marketplace – such as insurance marketplaces
  • Data management and other technology needed to extend the public health workfore
  • Federal transit administration grants

IT Modernization Optimizes Spend

Digital transformation is the goal. A modern network creates the path to success.  

Recent research from CDW noted, “Digital Transformation often includes gathering new information from the environment and the physical world that wasn’t previously available, and then using those insights to inform better business decisions.”

Governments are gaining (previously unattainable) access to rich data, empowering the ability to enhance services for citizens. The introduction of IoT devices and sensors are ushering locales into the era of the Smart Community, offering the ability to optimize functions like garbage removal, parking, energy flow, traffic, water, lighting, and policing.

This new influx of funds opens the door to becoming a fully operational Smart Community, building the three key pillars of creating open digital systems, encouraging private and public partnerships, and planning for the future.  

As your Smart City initiative plans take shape, a modern, cloud-managed network will be the catalyst for long-term efficiency and effectiveness.

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