The City of Santa Monica was highlighted in a new policy agenda from Next Century Cities as a model of how best to develop a high-quality broadband network.

“Connecting 21st Century Communities: A Policy Agenda for Broadband Stakeholders” cites the City of Santa Monica as an example of a city whose taken charge of its internal needs by spending smarter and building an effective institutional network. The new resource provides concrete policies and actions for local, state and federal governments, as well as community members and philanthropic organizations. These agendas will support the development of high-quality broadband networks throughout the country.

Beginning with the unveiling of a Telecommunications Master Plan in 1998, the City of Santa Monica has reduced the cost of laying fiber optic cable by nearly 90 percent by coordinating installation with other capital projects while issuing no additional debt. As of the end of 2013, the City of Santa Monica maintains 32 free Wi-Fi hotspots along nine major commercial corridors and has managed to synchronize 80 traffic signals, according to a report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). Additionally, generating $5 million in revenue toward the City General Fund, the city has lowered the cost of high capacity internet connections for businesses by over two-thirds.

“We’re gratified by this recognition of Santa Monica’s success at building out digital infrastructure, which we hope can serve as an example for other communities on how to proceed incrementally, sustainably and even profitably,” said Santa Monica Mayor, Kevin McKeown.

Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole stated that “Expanded broadband internet access will be a central driver in the economic vitality of our residents and cities in the years to come, and we’re happy to help other communities learn from our success and join us on this path.”

“In the 21st century, internet access has emerged as more than just an information superhighway; it has become critical infrastructure, connecting citizens, businesses and communities alike to new opportunities,” said Executive Director of Next Century Cities, Deb Socia. “This new policy agenda from Next Century Cities is designed to give communities across the country a guide for how leaders from all levels of government, as well as other stakeholders, can work together to make tangible progress in creating the broadband infrastructure needed today.”

Next Century Cities is a bipartisan, non-profit initiative with the mission of supporting communities and their elected leaders as they seek to establish and leverage gigabit level internet. This newly released policy agenda marks the latest informational resource provided by Next Century Cities to its growing membership.

The agenda can be found online at http://nextcenturycities.org/connecting-21st-century-communities-a-policy-agenda-for-broadband-stakeholders.

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