MVCC cities named global ‘Smart 50 Award’ winners

The Miami Valley Communications Council and seven of its member cities have been recognized as a global ‘Smart 50 Award’ winner for 2020. The award carries the distinction of honoring the 50 most transformative, innovative and influential ‘Smart City’ projects each year from a dozen countries around the world.

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Centerville, Kettering, Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood, Springboro and West Carrollton were the seven MVCC member cities that were honored.

MVCC’s GATEway Fiber Network project, one of the first multi-jurisdictional fiber networks in the country, was one of 11 winners in the Urban Infrastructure category. This project creates a foundation for all future data-sharing initiatives across the region.

“We are honored to be recognized among the top tier of ‘Smart City’ endeavors in the United States,” MVCC Executive Director Jay Weiskircher said. “We are grateful to work with the cities involved to provide the area with more capabilities to achieve greater sustainability, reliability and accessibility through shared and cooperative investments in new technologies.”

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The GATEway project will enable cities to pursue individual and collective ‘Smart City’ strategies appropriate for each jurisdiction. Enhancing public safety and security measures for local and regional residents, improving access to e-services, and lowering internal and external costs are all key focuses and objectives within each municipality.

Network construction of this underground fiber optic network spans 44 miles across, around and through Centerville, Kettering, Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood, Springboro and West Carrollton.

Planning for the project began six years ago and construction started in January 2019. The fiber optic network provides connections to each municipality’s main government building and affords each city the capability to use the network as deemed appropriate for their individual jurisdiction’s needs.

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The cost of the project was $1.14 million and was borne by the seven cities based on per capita contributions. Today, all cities have direct, municipal-owned, fiber connectivity capable of supporting high-bandwidth applications and providing the capability to extend the fiber network into adjacent communities as desired.

“The fiber optic ring is a selling point for economic development efforts as well as an example of partnership among political jurisdictions. The support, vision and leadership from each of the seven City Councils helped to get the project in motion,” said Centerville City Manager Wayne Davis, who served as chair of MVCC’s Government Technology Committee when the project began last year and was also the driving force behind the submission of the Smart 50 Award Application.

MVCC served as the administrative body for implementation of the project and will be the leader in marketing available excess fiber and negotiating agreements with partners and customers using the fiber network.

The organization also partnered with the Miami Valley Education Computing Association (MVECA) to complete the project.

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MVECA is a consortium of schools and service centers across Ohio, and offers some of the highest broadband speeds and connectivity in the United States, said Executive Director Thor Sage.

“The GATEway Fiber Network is an example of how collaboration and partnership can help us all win victories for education, government and the communities in which we live,” Sage said.

MVCC, formed in the mid-1970s, is a municipal communications and technology organization representing eight member cities and 23 affiliate member communities throughout the Miami Valley region.

Its primary mission is to develop and implement cost-effective intergovernmental projects and cooperative programs.

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