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“Connected City Corridor” in Pasco County designated as the first planned “Smart Gigabit Community” in the U.S.

Innovation group US Ignite will work with Metro Development on planning

Land O’Lakes, Fla. (December 8, 2015) – A new area in Pasco County dubbed the “Connected City Corridor” has been designated as the first planned “Smart Gigabit Community” in the U.S. to be built from the ground up with a fiber network providing Gigabit internet access.

The designation is by US Ignite, a non-profit organization that is fostering the creation of next-generation Internet applications in communities across the country. Metro Development Group, which is driving the planning for the “Connected City Corridor,” first met with US Ignite several years ago as the company’s leaders thought about ways to create a high-tech community. As the idea started to take shape, Metro engaged with Pasco County to partner on the project.

US Ignite will work with Metro Development Group and Pasco County officials to share best practices and smart Gigabit applications from other US Ignite cities for the benefit of Pasco residents and businesses, while also offering advice on recruiting tech-savvy companies that require Gigabit internet access.

US Ignite, established in cooperation with the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is already working with a number of other communities to take advantage of Gigabit technology, including Kansas City, Missouri; Cleveland, Ohio; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; and Burlington, Vermont.

However, efforts in those cities involve retrofitting existing neighborhoods, not building in a 7,800-acre special planning area from the ground up. The new “Connected City Corridor,” to be located between Wesley Chapel and San Antonio, is expected to attract businesses, retailers and residents to an area built around Gigabit-enabled applications and services that promise to deliver new advances in education, healthcare, public safety, energy, and transportation.

We expect Gigabit fiber access to help ensure economic development, quality jobs, and an excellent quality of life in Pasco County,” said William Wallace, Executive Director of US Ignite. “This is a tremendous opportunity to create an entrepreneurial community well positioned to compete in the 21st century, offering a vibrant place to live and to work.”

The new community is in a special planning area bordered by State Road 52, I-75, Curley Road and Overpass Road. Metro Development, which is taking a lead role in planning for the area, will build residential developments in areas previously known as Epperson Ranch, Cannon Ranch and Ashley Groves as part of the new community. Preliminary development work has already commenced.

“We are very pleased to work with US Ignite on these initiatives,” said Kartik Goyani, Vice President of Operations of Metro Development, who is working with Mike Lawson, the company’s Director of Land Development, to lead the “Connected City Corridor” project. “Gigabit technology is transforming the business landscape around the country, and this new community will be one of Florida’s top destinations for companies looking for the advantages this connectivity can provide.”

Added Ted Schrader of the Pasco County Commission: “Certainly, the county can’t plan a tech-friendly community in a vacuum, and US Ignite’s contributions will be invaluable. As the planning of this community takes shape, we expect the combination of an excellent location, a business-friendly county and the nation’s fastest Internet service to be a winner.”