Utilizing revolutionary Gigabit technology, Metro Development Group aims to connect more than just the home.
“We asked ourselves how we could use [Gigabit internet access] to connect schools, the library, public services, the hospital, etc.” says Kartik Goyani, vice president of operations for Metro Development Group.
“The goal was to give everybody access to this technology and break down the digital divide.”
Metro’s aspirations rose to realization through its latest development, the “Connected City Corridor” in Pasco County, Florida. The community is designated as the first planned smart gigabit community in the United States, which means it will be built from the ground up with a fiber network providing Gigabit internet access.
This designation comes from US Ignite, a non-profit organization fostering the creation of next-generation Internet applications in communities across the country. The initiative was prompted through US Ignite and the state of Florida, in partnership with Metro Development Group.
SEE BELOW FOR EXCLUSIVE RENDERINGS OF THE CONNECTED CITY, COURTESY OF METRO DEVELOPMENT GROUP
Making Ideas Reality
Goyani says the project strives to give people back time in their lives using technology—time that is often wasted through miscommunication and misunderstanding of said tech.
“It started off with us thinking about how to integrate technology into people’s lives, and we quickly realized that a lot of those deployments often confuse people and complicate everything,” he says.
This led to Metro forming the brand ULTRAFi back in 2014, designed to provide Gigabit access to all inside and outside of the home.
“People said we were super mad, saying that this is something the government should do, or the Feds should do, or something reserved for the Googles of the world,” says Goyani.
ULTRAFi includes a full home automation suite built in and included as standard, and Metro has been including these in its homes for years. Therefore, when Metro pitched the idea for the Connected City Corridor in January of this year, it was able to realistically showcase the benefits of this technology.
“We are big fans of not just talking about ideas but making ideas happen,” says Goyani. “Many developers discuss their grand vision and say it will happen ten years from now. We took a different approach.”
This approach paid off. The Connected City’s southeast portion, dubbed the “South Innovation Zone,” is already underway. Roadways have been completed, fiber network is being installed and builders are beginning construction in just a few weeks.
By spring of 2017, people will be living there. “And, hopefully, working there as well,” adds Goyani.
Setting a Standard
With the Connected City, Metro Development Group’s ultimate goal is to not only include technology and Gigabit Internet as standard. It wants to set a standard for the entire country as well.
First and foremost, Goyani thinks Gigabit speeds should not be an optional upgrade. He hopes this nationwide standard will take charge in four to five years, as much as he admits he would love for it to be sooner.
“When you move into a house, you have electricity and water and sewage. People don’t need to worry about that. Gigabit and fiber to the home should be the same way,” he says.
WHAT IS GIGABIT INTERNET? LEARN MORE HERE: Gigabit and Gain A Lot
An “Ageless Community”
The Connected City is certainly setting a number of precedents, through both standards and statistics.
Upon completion, the community will boast 37,000 homes and 12 million square-feet of non-residential entities such as offices, retail spaces, hotels, a university and more. Metro Development Group will begin with conventional housing then continue to add condos, apartments, micro-apartments and all the way up to McMansions—with Gigabit technology to connect everyone and everything.
“Our goal is to make an ageless community, kind of like a town, where the physical and the digital worlds come together as one,” says Goyani. “You could be a college graduate or a CEO level just getting ready to retire, and you’ll find the right home for you.”
According to Goyani, there will be “something for everybody.”