Toronto, Canada, has been ranked among the world’s top seven intelligent communities by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). This is a shortlist of finalists competing for the title of Intelligent Community of the Year, which will be awarded by the ICF on a ceremony to be held on June 7, 2013, in New York. The other finalists for the title include Stratford, Canada; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Taichung City, Taiwan; Taoyuan County, Taiwan; Oulu, Finland; and Tallinn, Estonia.
According to ICF’s website, the top seven “represent models of economic and social transformation in the 21st Century.” The candidates do not necessarily have to be the most advanced, but they have to be leaders that show good practice of broadband deployment and act as good examples for other cities and towns.
Toronto’s selection among the seven finalists was largely based on Waterfront Toronto, the project for the city’s waterfront renewal project (artist’s rendition pictured here). The project is expected to turn a huge swathe of waterfront land from an industrial graveyard into a new centre for North America’s third-largest knowledge economy. However, other aspects justifying Toronto’s presence on the shortlist include five universities with specialized programs, some with incubators that accelerate innovations in Internet and communications technology businesses.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said that not only does Toronto have one of the largest information technology sectors in Canada, but there will be an increase of 35,000 employees in the field over the next five years. There are currently around 160,000 people employed in the field. The city promises to establish a super fast open-access broadband community network with the most advanced fibre-optic network in the world, allowing for Internet speeds 500 times that of average connection speed across North America.
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