Cisco announces $1 billion to support smart cities

Tech giant partners with finance specialists to offer authorities ways of minimising initial investment in infrastructure – and says it can apply to third parties

Technology company Cisco has announced a $1 billion funding programme to support the development of smart cities.

Illustration - city on a mobile phoneIts Cisco Capital division will be providing the money under the City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Programme, through a partnership with private equity firm Digital Alpha Advisors and pension fund investors APG Asset Management and Whitehelm Capital.

The programme will be aimed at helping city governments put together finance packages to support investment in technology for smart cities, with a minimal initial investment.

Its web page devoted to the programme highlights a number of options. These include consumption based financing, under which authorities pay for technology based on the usage and increase or reduce capacity as needed.

Other options are revenue-share financing, in which they can develop revenue streams through the infrastructure they install, and equity financing, in which a strategic private equity partner helps to extend the business across a number of cities.

Funds can also be made available to systems integrators and teleco service providers.

Third party possibility

In an introductory video, Arvin Satyam, the company’s managing director for business development of Smart+Connected Communities,  says the financing can be applied to third party infrastructure, as well as that from Cisco, for a public authority or company providing the relevant services.

He cites the example of support for wireless internet firm Connexin’s provision of a public Wi-Fi infrastructure for Hull – and mentions the company’s offering of Cisco’s Kinetic for Cities platform.

Anil Menon, global president of Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities, said: “Funding is a major stumbling block for municipalities beginning their smart city transformation.

“With our partners, Cisco will bring the capital and expertise it takes to make smart city projects a reality. Digital Alpha, APG and Whitehelm Capital bring a fresh perspective on investment in an area that has previously been perceived as too new and, therefore, too difficult to finance.

Cisco’s most notable presence in the UK smart places movement is in its leadership of the CityVerve project in Manchester, although it also recently signed an agreement with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council for the use of Kinetic for Cities platform.

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