Finnish city finishes first, overtaking Melbourne
Last year’s winner was Australia’s very own Melbourne, and Melbourne Councillor Jackie Watts was on hand at the ceremony in London to present the award to Espoo’s representatives.
“It is very unusual for a community to be named Intelligent Community of the Year the first time they enter our program,” said ICF co-founder Lou Zacharilla.
“ICF is about process improvement over time. But Espoo’s holistic philosophy of humanising every aspect of its technology and teaching innovation as a way of life was extremely impressive,” Zacharilla added.
“Espoo’s citizen engagement rates are extremely high, which democracies need, and its economic output speaks for itself. The city is a hidden gem in Finland. Now they have been ‘found out’!”
Espoo’s selection followed a year-long evaluation that included a quantitative analysis of extensive data, site inspections by the ICF and votes from a jury made up of experts from around the world.
Finland’s parliament made history in 2010 by declaring that access to 1 Mbps broadband is a legal right. Today, the country ranks second in the world for mobile broadband adoption, according to the OECD.
It is also one of the leading countries in Europe for ultrabroadband adoption, with more than 50% of households having access to a fixed connection of 100 Mbps.
The city is currently conducting a three-year pilot project, called LuxTurrim 5G, that engages companies and researchers in evaluating smart light poles as 5G transmitters. The poles will have miniaturised 5G antennas and base stations, sensors for smart city systems and digitally controlled LED lighting.
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