The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named Stockholm, Sweden the Intelligent Community of the Year for 2009. “This is a community that has methodically and substantially redefined the possibilities of urban living and sets an example of how technology can play a role to enhance economic and social development,’ said Louis Zacharilla, ICF Co-founder.
The Scandinavian community, known for its prowess in innovative technologies and its quality of life, during a national fiscal crisis in the early Nineties, decided to pursue an unusual model in telecommunications. The city-owned company Stokab started in 1994 to build a fiber-optic network throughout the municipality as a level playing field for all operators. Stokab dug up the streets once to install conduit and run fiber, closed them up, and began offering dark fiber capacity to carriers for less than it would cost them to install it themselves. Today, the 1.2 million kilometer (720,000-mile) network has more than 90 operators and 450 enterprises as primary customers and is now in the final year of a three-year project to bring fiber to 100% of public housing, which is expected to add 95,000 households to the network. Stockholm’s Mayor has set a goal of connecting 90% of all households to fiber by 2012.
In 2007, the City of Stockholm published Vision 2030, identifying the key characteristics the city aimed to have by that year. In 2030, according to the plan, Stockholm would be a world-class metropolis offering a rich urban living experience, the center of an internationally competitive innovation region, and a place where citizens enjoyed a broad range of high-quality, cost-effective social services.
Louis Zacharilla, ICF Co-founder, congratulated the new Intelligent Community of the Year, saying,
Stockholm has expertly demonstrated how a culture of use has formed within the context of Stockholm’ s policy commitments, especially those to the environment, business and care for its citizens. Stockholm is an ambitious community and on the move. Stockholm serves as a case study for communities where national government has taken a more prominent role during the current economic downturn.
The annual awards are presented by the independent think tank as part of its annual conference, Building the Broadband Economy, produced in association with the Institute for Technology & Enterprise at New York University’ s Polytechnic school in New York (USA). The goal of the awards is to increase awareness of the role that broadband and information communications technology (ICT) play in economic and social development at the community level worldwide.
ICF also announced the recipients of the Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year award and the Founders Awards: Issy-les-Moulineaux’ s Legendary Mayor named Visionary of the Year; Dave Carter of Manchester Digital Development Agency; Andrew Spano of Westchester County, New York, and Taoyuan County, Taiwan presented with annual Founders Awards.