Someday Cincinnati's trash cans could alert the city when they're full, parking meters could let drivers know where available spots are, and traffic lights could adjust automatically to traffic conditions. That's how Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld describes Cincinnati's possible future as a "smart city."
Being a "smart city," by Cincinnati's definition, means working with private industries to leverage city assets to facilitate installing high-speed broadband internet that would be available and affordable for the public and businesses.
City Manager Harry Black describes it this way: "We're going to be putting in place a broadband Wi-Fi highway. We're doing all the civil work. We're putting in the roads and, in essence, the marketplace is going to jump on that highway and build stuff. They're going to build applications of a variety of sorts that will have public and private benefit."
Sittenfeld sees the program as "getting wired to build the future."
The city is asking companies that specialize in the various aspects of smart city development to apply for consideration to help Cincinnati build its program. Once there's a suitable pool of qualified bidders, the city will issue a request for proposals to implement a smart city program.
Officials envision the broadband framework being installed in the urban core first before expanding to the rest of the city.
It's still too early to say if or how much broadband access might be free to the public.