Stockholm wins intelligent community award

I see that Stockholm beat out Freddy and Moncton for the intelligent communities award.

I think the most important learning for cities looking to win this award is simple.  It’s not about how intelligent a community is right now.  It’s about how how cities used telecommunications to transform their economies.  Consider this:

During a national fiscal crisis in the early Nineties, the City of Stockholm 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.

Now when I read the case for some of the cities (I won’t mention any specifics) in the final seven, it seemed that the focus was primarily on how smart they are and not on how telecom and planning transformed their economies.

4 thoughts on “Stockholm wins intelligent community award

  1. This is more akin to NB getting that article in that magazine you mentioned. Seriously, how can an organization that doesn’t even LOOK at health care, municipal transit, waste management, roads, poverty levels, income disparity, education, pollution, local indebtedness (student loans/personal loans) or local governance even be CONSIDERED ‘intelligent’.

    The ONLY social yardstick they use is ‘digital inclusion’, which means getting access to the internet for poor people. Yes, Fredericton has the broadband ‘freezone’ but essentially all that has come out of that for poor people is Charles’ Leblanc’s blog. If your homeless, what the heck is the internet doing for you?

    This is ranting,because I hate doublespeak. This isn’t ‘intelligent communities’ this is ‘business friendly communities’ which is NOT the same thing. Fredericton is now laying the groundwork so that in fifty years a city surrounded by water will have no moraine. Oromocto sets on three wells and two rivers and has had more boil water advisories than any place in the country outside a reserve.

    What they don’t mention here is the high taxes in Sweden and the fact that IF you want ‘access’ to the market, you have to give up in spades the idea that corporate wealth can just be assumed. This clearly shows ONLY one thing-invest in education. That’s it. The rest is up to a government that doesn’t bend over for corporations. Pharmaceutical industries GROW out of educational institutions, very few said ‘lets pack up and move to Sweden’. In Sweden almost 70% of the economy goes through the government. That’s pretty ‘intelligent’-with the right government.

  2. No, Sweden has it right. Russia was simply a totalitarian dictatorship. However, there are numerous books showing how Russians were far better off in the eighties under communism than they were in the nineties. Of course capitalism has never existed either, so its a moot point-Sweden’s use of government owned broadband infrastructure with competing suppliers is closer to capitalism than Canada’s oligopoly between Bell and Rogers. Never discussed in canadian media is the fact that Canadians pay the highest rates in the industrial world for telecom access, with the most restrictive contracts. So ‘capitalism’ would be fine, so would ‘communism’, but instead Canada simply has corporate governance. As Richard says, things are fine when you have LOTS of competing companies providing efficient markets, but thats far from the case.

  3. The real winners were the organizers of the Intelligent Community Forum.

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