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Eastern Tennessee: Newport Smart Grid, Morristown Incubator
Approximately 30 miles separate Morristown and Newport, but the two are joining forces to better connect local businesses and residents as entrepreneurs take up residence in the region's newest high-tech work space.
An Incubator for Innovation in Morristown
SkyMart Venture Place is a new cooperative workspace stirring innovation in the quaint downtown district of Morristown.
Morristown was on the forefront of implementing city-wide Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) back in 2006. Today their gigabit network MUS FiberNET is fostering innovation in this thriving co-working space and helping neighboring communities bridge their connectivity gaps. Lynn Wolfe explains that the new space has helped support her in the early stages of her business. “[SkyMVP] gives me a place—with super-fast internet—to come and do my internet marketing, and it has been very beneficial for that and being able to upload my training videos,” Wolfe said.
SkyMVP’s doors opened in August of last year and it’s become a hub for local entrepreneurs. The space allows members to hold workshops, rent office space, and network with other professionals.
Similar incubator projects are underway in Virginia’s Roanoke Valley and Indianola, Iowa. SkyMVP is yet another example of how gigabit connectivity can spur positive transformations for local communities. Morristown’s decision to invest in FTTH infrastructure is emboldening their local economy and potential for small business growth in the area is promising. Sky MVP has even begun offering a course for budding entrepreneurs and a handful of free workshops.
Expanding the 'Net in Newport
Rhode Island's Aquidneck Community Considers Last Mile Options
Approximately 60,000 people live on Aquidneck Island in the towns of Portsmouth, Newport, and Middletown. The Ocean State Higher Education Economic Development and Administrative Network (OSHEAN) travels to the island but community leaders want to find a way to provide services to more residents, businesses, and institutions. OSHEAN is an under utilized middle mile network and most on the island still receive single digit Mbps service.
The Aquidneck Broadband Advisory Board hopes an investment in a last mile network will spur economic development, expand the use of OSHEAN, and increase telecommuting possibilities on the island. The group includes members from each of the three municipalities, local business leaders, and citizens. A recently released Request for Information seeks input regarding a potential gigabit last mile network that can support data, video, and voice. According to the RFI:
This effort will result in the development of a master plan for improving broadband infrastructure island‐ wide, including finance options, grants, and policies for the installation of high speed fiber optic broadband.
The Board will accept responses until November 15, 2013. A PDF of the RFI is posted on the Newport website.