In today’s Global economy, the ability to provide a broadband infrastructure is essential to driving innovation, adaptability and the enhancement of skills. The Province of New Brunswick, has excelled in building a broadband economy and recently had the cities of Fredericton and Moncton were nominated for the Intelligent Community of the Year Award. Having two cities nominated from a province of 750,000 people is truly remarkable when considering there was 431 applications from around the world.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d have two cities representing New Brunswick,” said New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham. Fredericton was also a nominee in the previous year.
The Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF) began this year’s competition for the annual award with 431 applications and announced the “Smart 21” last Fall. The Top 7 were announced in January and were invited to an Awards Luncheon on May 15th in New York City. The other nominees included cities from U.S., France, Sweden, Estonia and the Netherlands.
According to the ICF website, communities must demonstrate that their strategy has produced measurable results in one or more of the following areas:
- Creation of jobs in fields or clusters expected to prosper in the Broadband Economy
- Attracting new businesses to the community or stimulating their formation through entrepreneurship and a “culture of use”
- Educational programs that equip people of all ages with the skills to perform knowledge work
- New technology infrastructure investment, whether of “hard” assets, services or software
- Innovation in the delivery of government services such as education, administration, law enforcement or citizen participation
- Innovation by local business that creates new products and services and leads to increased competitiveness
- Ensuring access to broadband and IT resources, as well as skills training, for low-income and at-risk populations.
At the May 15th luncheon, Stockholm, Sweden was announced as this year’s winner. While the New Brunswick delegation was disappointed with the result, Premier Graham commented that he was blessed to lead a province on the move.