Page, Arizona is staking its claim as the first city in Arizona to incorporate smart technology throughout the town, reports the Lake Powell Chronicle. While Page is not yet ready for flying cars, it will be using technology to monitor traffic activities, weather, and emergency services and link local businesses through a digitally connected network. Page was one of only three cities in the state to receive a $1 million grant to deploy the fiber broadband delivery that will make the smart city project possible.
“We’ve been working with Tim Suan and the town manager [Darren Coldwell] to make Page Arizona’s first smart town,” said Jeff Sabotka, VP and state broadband director of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “The city leadership is very visionary in Page. They want to take advantage of all this capacity.”
“A lot of people don’t realize that to have a cell phone tower, which generally can cost upward of a million dollars for a big one, you have to have one of these fiber connections coming out the backend because all the cell phone calls that are hitting the tower at that same time get aggregated, they go out the backend, and they’re back-called to Phoenix where they go out over the wider internet,” said Sabotka.
“What was interesting about this project,” he continued, “Once we started going, we were able to pick up other cell phone towers that were in limbo because they didn’t have connectivity. They weren’t even part of the original design. You have companies like Verizon that put up additional towers based on this project. They could not do it previously.”
Page’s smart city plans also have the support of the Navajo Nation, which will be able to connect to the new network. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority will be establishing a link to the broadband deployment system in Page, which should help streamline emergency response efforts.
Thanks to earlier funding from Arizona’s Rural Broadband Development Grant Program, broadband upgrades are already underway. The “middle mile” technology that is expected to really bring Page to life could be completed within the year. According to the Lake Powell Chronicle, Page has designs on being named “the smartest city in the world.”