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Cisco launches smart city financing

Nobody said building a smart city is cheap.

New technologies, upgraded networks and the associated resources can create a burden on cash-strapped cities struggling to improve services and attract talent and businesses.

Cisco's new City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program seeks to address that challenge.  CIFAP offers $1 billion in debt and equity capital financing to cities and urban services operators, such as telecommunications services providers and systems integrators that facilitate smart city services.  

The public-private-partnership vehicle has several financing options. Cities can choose from traditional loans and leases, consumption-based or as-a-service-based financing or concession financing that delivers incremental revenues and cost savings.  Urban services operators can apply for revenue-share financing or equity financing.

CIFAP will not only give cities a way to deploy cutting-edge technology with a minimal initial investment, but it will also let them "more closely tie the cost of financing to the desired outcomes of their smart infrastructure projects," Cisco said in its blog.  

The program, which was announced Nov. 14 at the Smart City expo in Barcelona, also offers flexible payments and has end-of-term options for cities to return, purchase or upgrade their technology.

The funding is provided through Cisco Capital and its financing partners -- private equity firm Digital Alpha Advisors, APG Asset Management, and Whitehelm Capital.

The company also announced new purchasing options for Cisco Kinetic for Cities, its cloud-based internet of things platform. The options include prepackaged starter solutions, which combine the Cisco IoT data platform and services with those from its partners into ready-to-roll-out  solution suites.

The platform itself has also been upgraded to include enhanced support for public safety that enables capture and aggregation of data from cameras, sensors and other sources. A new waste management solution improves trash collection efficiency by optimizing pick-up routes based on real-time volume  sensors in waste containers.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA from West Chester University and an MA in English from the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at smiller@gcn.com or @sjaymiller.

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