A contingent of people from the City of Charlotte, Queens University, and Charlotte Hearts Gigabit attended the 2016 Gigabit City Summit in Kansas City May 16-18. Over 300 people registered for the event, making it larger than the inaugural event in 2015. When we attended in 2015 Charlotte was not yet a Gigabit city. Google Fiber didn't announce Charlotte until after the conference, and AT&T, Windstream, and Comporium had yet to announce major residential Gigabit offerings. So much has changed in a 18 months!
CHG co-founder Alan Fitzpatrick gave a Spotlight on Charlotte talk the first day of the conference. The talk focused on how our community is supporting the Gigabit infrastructure roll-out, and our involvement in Digital Inclusion and Smart City activities.
Dr. Eric Freedman from Queens University spoke on the second day of the conference, providing an update on how the city has been working on Digital Inclusion through the Best Minds conferences the past several years, the City Jam conference earlier in 2016, and the leadership of Charlotte's Digital Inclusion efforts with full-time Project Manager Bruce Clark. Everyone On, Urban League, CMS, CMLibrary, Goodwill, Media Democracy Fund, E2D, and many other organizations meet regularly to move Charlotte forward as a community. For more information on this effort go to DigitalCharlotte.org.
The three day summit included various tracks that focused on various aspects of the Gigabit infrastructure. The first day had a track on Gigabit City Activation and a track on Smart City Infrastructure. The second day had multiple tracks on: Digital Inclusion, Civic Tech, University + City Collaboration, Gigabit/Smart City Ecosystems, and Education. An inspiring keynote talk from Blair Levin of the Brookings Institute capped the General Session.
We met with our friends from US Ignite and the other cities in last year's GigHacks event, and spoke with the Mozilla Foundation about coming to Charlotte in 2017. At the conference Mozilla selected Austin, TX as the third city in their Gigabit Community Fund. They plan to add two more cities in 2017 and we've already planted the seed for them to come to Charlotte next year!
A big thank you to Aaron Deacon and KC Digital Drive for putting on the conference and asking us to speak about Charlotte. We look forward to many more events like this. See a few pictures from the event below.