Good news from Red Wing…
Today, US Ignite, Inc. announced that Red Wing Ignite, located in southern Minnesota, is the newest participant in the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) program. US Ignite is a nonprofit that spurs the creation of next-generation applications and services that leverage advanced networking technologies to build the foundation for smart communities. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2015, US Ignite’s Smart Gigabit Communities program is creating “living lab” environments for the next generation of gigabit applications. Red Wing Ignite joins 24 other national and international communities participating in the SGC program.
“Building a diverse set of communities has been important to us since the start of the SGC program,” said William Wallace, Executive Director of US Ignite. “We are excited to have Red Wing on board to provide the unique perspective of a rural community. As an original member of US Ignite in 2013, the community has already succeeded in becoming a regional hub for digital innovation and business development. Joining the program is its next step in continuing this path of success.”
“We value the partnership we have built with US Ignite over the past four years, and we are honored to receive this new opportunity for our region,” said Neela Mollgaard, Executive Director of Red Wing Ignite and Community Leader of the SGC program. “The added resources and connections throughout the country will elevate our efforts in Minnesota.”
Smart Gigabit Communities is a collaboration among US Ignite, universities, municipalities, community anchor institutions like hospitals and schools, nonprofits, network carriers and ISPs. Together, these organizations are focused on developing smart gigabit applications that address local community needs, such as education, workforce development, public safety, community health, smart energy and transportation. Each member of the program has committed to develop two gigabit applications or gigabit services per year that provide advanced technology solutions to issues faced by that community. They also agree to share those applications with other participants in the program.
According to US Ignite, it is essential for rural communities to be connected to other communities so that they don’t fall behind in the rapidly changing digital space. Access to a national network is critical in developing, launching and scaling new applications. The SGC program provides the infrastructure that allows Red Wing Ignite to a be a “tech hub” for greater Minnesota and serve students, entrepreneurs and businesses.
For example, Red Wing Ignite has expressed an interest in creating gigabit agricultural applications, as well as clean energy, healthcare, educational, and advanced manufacturing applications. One potential smart agricultural application uses thermal imagery from infrared cameras to measure temperatures and crop water stress during critical crop growth stages. Advanced networks enable local farmers to receive massive amounts of data from these cameras, analyze that data, and make informed decisions.
Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC) is a key technology partner for Red Wing Ignite, providing gigabit Internet speeds over FTTP networks reaching Red Wing Ignite users in nine Minnesota counties. HBC’s fiber optic transport ring connects more than twenty southern Minnesota cities with multiple 10 GB and 100 GB backbones. HBC will dedicate a team responsible for the networking and connectivity to partners in the Red Wing Ignite community, led by HBC president Dan Pecarina.
Many other organizations partner within the Red Wing Ignite community, including: 3M, Xcel Energy, City of Red Wing, Blandin Broadband Foundation, and Winona State University.