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Innovation

Free Wi-Fi helps Honolulu top 'digital cities' list

A list of the top digital cities in the U.S. shows Honolulu on top thanks to free Wi-Fi throughout the island that cost taxpayers nothing.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor on

Despite these tough economic times for cities, governments are finding innovative ways to run more efficiently, while being more transparent and connected digitally.

The 10th annual Digital Cities Survey, from e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities Program, recognizes the top ranked digital city governments in the U.S.

And at the top of the list: Honolulu, Hawaii. Their Kokua Wireless system is free throughout the island and by partnering with local businesses it cost taxpayers nothing. Gordon Bruce, director and CIO of the city and county of Honolulu helped come up with the idea, says Government Technology:

The Kokua Wireless system was at first, just a simple idea he and a colleague thought up over coffee: take a bunch of antennae and ask businesses to put them up in their buildings and share their Internet.

In exchange, the businesses receive free advertising over the system. Every 30 minutes the Internet connection is refreshed to prevent illegal downloading, and when it boots back up, and the user is reconnected, they are immediately routed to the website of one of the businesses who are housing the antennae.

It's an innovation that puts them at the top of this year's list of digital cities with a population over 250,000. Here's the rest of the top 10:

1. Honolulu, Hawaii

2. Seattle, Wash.

3. Nashville, Tenn.

4. Aurora, Colo.

5. Chicago, Ill.

6. Corpus Christi, Texas

7. El Paso, Texas

8. Riverside, Calif.

9. Boston, Mass.

10. Baltimore, Md.

Any city with a population over 30,000 was able to participate in the survey. Here are the other top digital cities by population:

-Olathe, Kan. (125,000 – 249,999 population)

-Roseville, Calif. (75,000 – 124,999 population)

-Eden Prairie, Minn. (30,000 – 74,999 population)

Free Wi-Fi is great but what else makes for a high ranking digital city?

“Cities that are investing in technology are capturing cost savings that are critical to continuity of operations and their ability to meet higher demand for services,” said Todd Sander, director of Digital Communities. “The highest-ranking cities in the survey showed great strides in consolidating and enabling shared services, government transparency and communications interoperability. We applaud these innovators as they work in the spirit of collaboration to provide extraordinary value to constituents despite budget setbacks.”

Photo: atmtx/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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