Ignite MN FAQ


What is US Ignite’s Smart Gigabit Communities program?

A national network of more than 25 communities, committed to accelerating the development, deployment and sharing of next-generation technology to drive local innovation economies.  Communities leverage local resources and stakeholders and benefits are amplified across the national network. 


Wasn’t Red Wing already a US Ignite Community? 

Yes! Due to our gigabit broadband, Hiawatha Broadband Communications nominated the City of Red Wing in 2012 to be an original partner of US Ignite. We leveraged these assets and created Red Wing Ignite, a non-profit, a year later.


Why Red Wing Ignite? 

Red Wing Ignite is the catalyst.  We sought the opportunity to be a Smart Gigabit Community.  We were selected due to our sustained efforts over the last 4 years to create a platform for success supporting innovation and businesses development. 


Why “Ignite Minnesota”?

US Ignite and NSF is looking to Red Wing Ignite to be a statewide hub to develop and deploy new technologies.  Innovation is already happening throughout MN.  This effort will convene, collaborate and elevate the efforts to a national audience.


How are we unique in the national network?   

  • We are the first and only non-metropolitan area involved in this effort. This provides geographic diversity, by representing rural America.
  • Only effort focused on agricultural technology.  Agriculture is a leading economic driver throughout the region (and the country).
  • The model we have in place has and can be replicated to other cities.


What are the expectations for Ignite Minnesota? 

  • Help foster two next generation applications a year focused on agricultural technology, Advance manufacturing, Clean energy, Education, Healthcare
  • Actively participate and contribute in the national ecosystem
  • Seek out technology that can be brought to Minnesota to improve the way we work, learn and live.


How will Ignite Minnesota undertake this endeavor?

  • Close working relationship with US Ignite
  • Regional Steering Committee
  • Tech Ambassadors and Tech Leader
  • Convene, connect and collaborate with regional, state and national stakeholders
  • Host events and competitions
  • And …  WITH ALL OF YOU!

What is a gigabit application? 

A gigabit application is one that takes advance of the advanced gigabit Internet infrastructure provided by organizations like Google Fiber, AT&T Gigapower, Comcast Gigabit, and Hiawatha Broadband.  These very high speed and super-responsive infrastructures allow communities like Ignite Minnesota implement next-generation applications not possible in all American cities and rural areas.  The network of 25 Smart Gigabit Communities is the club of cities and communities that have the advantage of gigabit capabilities.


What are some examples of next-gen applications? 

Big bandwidth can be used for things like projecting educational virtual reality and augmented reality from central facilities like schools district offices into low-cost headsets in classrooms.   A new class of inexpensive robots could patrol the homes of seniors thanks to intelligence provided over gigabit networks.  Super-responsiveness can be used to allow music class duets, trios, and orchestras between home-schooled or small school students.  In Moab, Utah, gigabit connections to health clinics allow for quelling essential tremors by tuning deep brain stimulation electrodes.  We also count as gigabit the use of software-defined networks to separate and protect sensitive information.