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Boston bolsters bid to become most technologically advanced city

Mayor Walsh has also appointed a new chief information officer who will lead the city’s efforts to enhance online service delivery

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Boston is aiming to become a digital city of the future
Boston is aiming to become a digital city of the future

Verizon and the city of Boston have signed updated agreements to accelerate Boston’s plans to be one of the most technologically advanced and digital cities in the nation. In a separate announcement, Mayor Martin Walsh said he has appointed David J Elges as the city’s new chief information officer (CIO) to lead the efforts to enhance online service delivery.

 

The relationship between the Boston and Verizon goes back to 2016. The company will expand its local wireless network and bring Fios Internet and TV to the city’s remaining neighbourhoods not covered in the original franchise agreement. It will also collaborate with Boston on smart communities solutions, enabling the city to achieve efficiencies in areas such as traffic management, safety and energy efficiency.

 

Verizon will expand its presence in the city, announcing plans regarding its long-term lease of more than 450,000 square feet for its technology workforce at The Hub on Causeway.

 

Doubling its investment

 

These new wireless network enhancements will double Verizon’s original $300 million investment focused on building a 100 per cent fibre-optic network across Boston announced in 2016.

 

“Our partnership with Verizon reflects one goal: to make sure all of Boston’s residents have access to the most advanced digital technology both now, and in the future,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “We’re making sure Boston is the best digital city in the nation, and through partnerships with companies like Verizon, residents will have better, more affordable options, as we work together to create inclusive growth for our city.”

“Our partnership with Verizon reflects one goal: to make sure all of Boston’s residents have access to the most advanced digital technology both now, and in the future”

Under a new 10-year agreement, Verizon will significantly expand its wireless small cell network to bring more speed and capacity to its existing 4G LTE network and to pave the way for the eventual deployment of 5G services in Boston.

 

Small cells will be placed strategically to meet data capacity demand in areas of high customer usage. In many locations, small cells are “hiding in plain sight,” on existing structures like city traffic lights or utility poles. The city will provide Verizon with a streamlined permitting process for the installation of new small cells.

 

Boston’s technology nucleus

 

The decision to locate at The Hub reinforces the location as the most technologically advanced in the city and Boston’s nucleus at the intersection of tech and talent. Construction is scheduled for completion by 2021. The Hub on Causeway will include 16 floors of innovatively designed space, of which, five floors will be reserved for incubators, accelerators, and partners.

 

“The city of Boston has been a tremendous partner for us, and a great leader in building the digital city of the future,” said Kyle Malady, chief technology officer of Verizon. “Together we’re creating a platform of innovation with the latest technology that will benefit Boston residents, businesses, universities, first responders and visitors for decades to come.”

"It’s important to think beyond devices as technology continues to evolve, to ensure that we are using all the tools we have to engage with our constituents and optimise our performance"

Verizon will also be contributing $1 million to the Boston Digital Equity Fund to help support programmes that provide affordable access to broadband to underserved residents. The fund was established as part of Walsh’s commitment to bringing more equity and choice to residents throughout Boston. Initiatives also include bringing wi-ii hotspots to the Boston Public Library’s lending programme, the city’s Wicked Free Wi-Fi programme and working to protect net neutrality rules that ensure a fair and open internet.

 

As the city’s new CIO, part of Elges remit will be to improve access to technology and broadband across all Boston neighbourhoods. He brings more than 15 years of information technology experience from both public and private sectors and most recently served as CIO for the District of Columbia Government. In this role, he established the overall technology strategy and architecture to ensure that it was aligned with the District’s growth and evolving needs.

 

"I’m looking forward to starting as the new CIO for the city of Boston to build on their successes in utilising technology in strategic and transformative ways," said Elges. "It’s important to think beyond devices as technology continues to evolve, to ensure that we are using all the tools we have to engage with our constituents, optimise our performance, and track our progress."

 

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