Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix, AZ

Bringing What’s Next to the PHX

Through a three-year private sector grant sponsored by Cox Communications, the Institute for Digital Progress is building a “living lab” of testbeds for smart gigabit applications in Phoenix, AZ.


If you’re attracted to a low cost of living and low crime rate, a career in financial services (American Express, USAA) or IT (Intel), outdoor activities, or all of the above, Phoenix might be the place for you. It’s easy to see why Phoenix is the fastest growing city in the US—already the fifth most populous city nationwide, it’s expected to be the fourth by 2020. To prepare for the sustained influx of people and business, an enormous amount of infrastructure development is underway, from construction of freeways to expansion of light rail lines. Meanwhile, Phoenix’s Institute for Digital Progress (iDP) plans on making sure that the city doesn’t just build bigger, but smarter as well.

Six smart gigabit applications are bringing Phoenix’s urban ecosystem into the future, revolutionizing key aspects of life for its citizens: infrastructure, workforce development, public safety, education, and community health. That’s the initial goal, as stated by iDP, of its trailblazing initiative to turn Phoenix into a leading Smart City. And with the help of a $300,000 grant from Cox Communications, providing a mix of GPON-based FTTP technology and DOCSIS 3.1-enabled equipment to extend internet, TV, and phone services in the local market, it’s a goal that seems more achievable every day.

Leveraging the high speed network that Cox provides allows for opportunities not currently possible on slower legacy networks. Consistent with the innovation Cox already enables in its service areas across the country (delivering advanced digital video, internet, phone, and home security services to 6 million customers nationwide), the new applications are expected to deliver technological advancements and community benefits to businesses and residents throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area.

For instance: Loop 101, the semi-beltway that circles much of the Phoenix metropolitan area, is expected to experience heightened levels of congestion as a result of the city’s exponential growth. An application that supports connected vehicle technology and sensors to boost the efficiency of public transit services could help improve commuting and safety on Loop 101—because when more people use transit services, that means fewer cars on the highway.

Featured Project: Phoenix Smart City Hack

Phoenix’s Institute for Digital Progress is committed to grappling with challenges like traffic congestion by advancing and supporting tech solutions. But it’s not just about technology, it’s about people, too. Lamenting the limited ability of hackathons to generate long-term impact, iDP decided to spearhead a community effort to drive change in a new way: the Phoenix Smart City Hack. Instead of a one-off competition, it’s a year-round innovation program, combining key elements of a hackathon with app development and collaborative innovation techniques. Through the program, iDP and Cox Communications are calling on the people of Phoenix to create technology that improves quality of life in the city—and you better believe that Phoenix’s entrepreneurs, innovators, and makers have the ‘can do’ attitude to make it happen.