White House grants Mozilla $3.2 million to expand gigabit cities

The investment is aimed at developing gigabit Internet-based smart applications for today's modern city needs.

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Mozilla has been awarded millions by the US government to expand gigabit networks and smart city solutions in cities.

In a blog post, the Mozilla Foundation said the US National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the group a three-year, $3.2 million grant to further the research, development and adoption of gigabit Internet technologies.

Gigabit Internet offers data transfer speeds of at least 1 Gbps, which equates to 1,000 Mbps. The technology is touted as being up to 250 times faster than standard Internet connections offered by today's Internet service providers.

The grant is part of a larger investment initiative from the US government. The White House has set aside $160 million to further gigabit Internet and related technologies in today's cities. The "Smart Cities" initiative focuses on leveraging new technologies in order to reduce traffic congestion, lower crime rates, seed economic growth, manage climate change and improve the delivery of city services.

As part of the initiative, over $35 million has been awarded -- with a further $10 million in proposed investments -- by the NSF and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to companies researching and developing smart city solutions.

In total, over 20 US cities are participating in the scheme.

Mozilla plans to use the funds to build upon the firm's ongoing partnership with US Ignite, a non-profit focused on gigabit Internet. In particular, Mozilla's Hive communities will be able to expand.

The Hives comprise of organizations -- such as startups and non-profits -- as well as community figures who offer students the chance to learn about technology and innovation beyond the traditional classroom through events, learning communities and open-source learning tools.

The grant follows earlier funding in 2014 in Chattanooga and Kansas City. Mozilla has worked with 30 partners to develop and pilot a total of 17 gigabit apps including real-time water monitoring systems, 3D learning tools for classrooms and specialized technology for first responder training.

It is hoped the fresh funding will allow these projects to expand in these locations -- as well as three yet-to-be-determined new cities. Mozilla hopes to prompt demand for gigabit Internet through the Hive communities, new pilot apps and associated training which take advantage of the rapid speeds of gigabit technologies.

There will be $150,000 in grants available during the first year of the program in each city.

The company says:

"We're empowering local classroom teachers, informal educators, and technologists as co-creators and beta testers of technology at the bleeding edge of the Web.

We believe the Web is an invaluable tool for learning and unlocking opportunities and progress. And when people are equipped with a lightning-fast Web, amazing things can happen."

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