As we get closer to 2022, we take a moment to celebrate some of the accomplishments from 2021. So take a trip down memory lane with us by reviewing our list of the five most newsworthy items from this year below.

#5 – US Ignite Welcomes Dr. Nick Maynard as New Chief Executive Officer

Back in May, Dr. Nick Maynard took the helm of the organization.

“Since the founding of US Ignite, Nick has helped to design and shape our growth strategy,” stated William Wallace, Executive Chairman of the Board. “Without a doubt, Nick’s long history with US Ignite, coupled with his technical expertise and visionary leadership, will ensure continued success in expanding broadband connectivity and smart city innovation.”

Read the full announcement

#4 – Release of “Fostering Civic Trust: A Policy Guide for Municipal Leaders”

Divided into five sections – Data Governance, Cybersecurity, Privacy, Community Engagement, and Equity – this guide is designed for communities seeking practical help on the journey to becoming smarter and more connected. The guide includes best practices, case studies, and expert opinions.

Check it out

#3 – The AR Developer Challenge

US Ignite partnered with Reality Labs to launch the AR Developer Challenge grant to help communities discover and leverage the possibilities of AR. Philadelphia, PA; Raleigh and Town of Cary, NC; and Long Beach, CA received $20,000 each to host an AR Developer Challenge. Throughout the year we worked closely with the three cities to oversee the design and execution of the local competitions and celebrated the finalists! Check out the recap video below.

Learn more about the AR Developer Challenge

#2 – PAWR Program Announced First Rural Broadband Testbed and Launched AERPAW Testbed

Two significant developments emerged from the PAWR program this year. First, in June, we announced the fourth wireless research platform in Central Iowa. Iowa State University now leads the development of the testbed to drive innovation in rural broadband connectivity.

Second, in November, PAWR announced the general availability of the AERPAW wireless testbed for network communications and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) research. AERPAW is designed to accelerate the integration of UAS into the national airspace and enable research into advanced wireless technologies supporting dynamic, mobile, and airborne networks.

Learn more about PAWR

#1 – US Ignite and Project OVERCOME Select Seven Communities for National Science Foundation-funded Broadband Awards

Via a $2.7 million effort funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and Schmidt Futures, we selected seven communities to launch pilot networks designed to connect the unconnected. As a result of this grant, novel broadband technology solutions have already been deployed and have begun to connect underserved areas.

Catch up on Project OVERCOME News