Smart Cities Initiative

The Smart Cities Initiative project is one of the components of the Huntington Innovation Project or HIP Plan which won the $3 million grand prize in the national America’s Best Community competition. The winnings were awarded to the Foundation for the Tri-State Community as steward of the funds which are designated only for the HIP Plan projects.  The ABC funds will be used to leverage other dollars to carry out this and the other HIP projects.

The Smart Cities Initiative Project is designed to help bring high speed broadband to the Huntington region and the deployment of fiber.

Key Initiatives include the following:

  • Formation of Smart Cities Taskforce
  • Development of appropriate city ordinances to enhance deployment
  • Issue RFI for providers to gauge interest
  • Develop funding plan

Most Recent Progress:

  • Thrasher Engineering has been chosen to create the design and layout for fiber deployment
  • New governing board for Smart City Initiative has been named
  • Fiber optic cables will bring high-speed connectivity to downtown business & homes in Huntington
  • Engineering firm is chosen to work on design and construction documents for the fiber installation for Huntington
  • Planning for fiber deployment to homes and businesses in Huntington is underway and the City has issued a Request for Qualifications for design and engineering.
  • Taskforce created composed of leaders in the IT field at MU and private businesses
  • Feasibility Study completed by WV Broadband Council
  • Dig once policy adopted by the City
  • Received $250,000 product from CISCO and allocated it to a start-up data center to be developed and operated by Thundercloud
  • Completed an RFI with interviews for a pilot fiberhood
  • Taskforce developed a report recommending that the City work to make an inviting environment for providers in Huntington
  • Engaged CTC Technology to develop a report and recommendations on how to create the appropriate environment within the City to make Huntington more appealing to providers – Report complete
  • Held a strategic planning session with key leadership from the community
  • Focus shifted to phasing with nonresidential first and residential second
  • Applied for POWER grant this spring in partnership with Thundercloud and Alpha Technologies to deploy fiber from Barboursville to downtown Huntington core
  • Deployment of fiber in phases to serve community and new startup businesses and to attract industry to locate in the City
  • Meeting set to plan for future development and to firm up the locations and future needs of the City.
  • HMDA hired a consultant to build a plan to deploy fiber throughout the city in addition to the current Thundercloud project.
  • Meetings have been held with other cities to investigate unique and successful projects similar to the Smart City Initiative
  • Investigating GIS software specifically designed for broadband capabilities

a. Thundercloud was awarded nearly $2.353 million in funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission. The project will support approximately 25 miles of fiber construction to create a fiber loop that will connect Barboursville to downtown Huntington as well as deploy an underground fiber ring linking businesses and anchor institutions to gigabit speed infrastructure. This grant was matched dollar for dollar by WV Governor Jim Justice.  

Read more here

b. Citizens and business owners show overwhelming support for the deployment of the underground broadband fiber that will connect Barboursville to downtown Huntington and include a last-mile fiber ring linking businesses and anchor institutions to gigabit-speed infrastructure. 

Read more here

c. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams called for a public hearing amid efforts by Thundercloud to obtain a POWER grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. The hearing was very successful and provided a lot of information on the varying challenges faced by the presenters.  Based on feedback from the hearing, the public is in support of the project.

Read more here

The award money, as well as any funds donated from individuals/businesses/organizations, is given to the Foundation for the Tri-State Community, our region’s community foundation that controls the allocation of the funds to the projects as required by competition parameters.

Donations may also be made by check. Please make payable to The Foundation for the Tri-State Community, Inc. and mail to:

Foundation for the Tri-State Community, Inc.
916 5th Avenue, Suite 403
P.O. Box 7932
Huntington, WV 25779-7932

Please put "ABC Fund" as well as the specific project name in the memo line.