CLBR #257: David Sandel and the State of the Gigabit Nation


David Sandel and the State of the Gigabit Nation

DAVID SANDEL returns to discuss the State of the Gigabit Nation.

In the beginning (well actually 2010), there was Chattanooga:

[U]pgrading the broadband network in Chattanooga, Tenn., to world-leading gigabit speeds has transformed the community from a “slowing declining and deflating urban balloon” to the fastest growing city in Tennessee, attracting “a beehive of tech start-ups that all thrive on big data and super-high-speed internet.” That’s what Gangnam bandwidth can do in America.

Gangnam Bandwidth, American Style – Blair Levin and Ellen Satterwhite, Gig. U

But what is the state of the Gigibit Nation Today?

  • What Does it Mean to be a Gigabit city?
  • What are the consequences of not being a Gigabit city?
  • With Google scaling back Google Fiber – what is the Gigabit Future?
  • How do state laws limiting muni-broadband impact this?
  • What have we learned from Chattanooga and Kansas City – can gigabit investment create a new Silicon Valley?


In Kansas City, Google Fiber has mixed results, Curbed (2017)

Why It’s So Hard to Build the Next Silicon Valley, Bloomberg (2017)

The path to becoming a gigabit city, ZDNet (2016)

Google Fiber pivots: What it means for the future of gigabit internet, Tech Republic (2016)

The City That Was Saved by the Internet, Motherboard

The ‘Google Fiber’ effect on economic development? It’s real, Louisville Business Journal (2016)

Fiber or Fireplace? Study Links FTTH to Increased Housing Prices, Fiber to the Home Council (2015)

Innovation Districts, Brookings Institute

Profile of St. Louis as an Urban Entrepreneurial City in Smart Economy in Smart Cities

Map of Gigabit cites

clbr sandelDavid Sandel
Sandel & Associates
St. Louis, MO
@ineighborhoods / @dsandel

David is an accomplished executive architect focused on the planning and the execution of Smart or Gigabit City initiatives. As President of Sandel & Associates. David and his team work with cities, community organizations and technology providers to develop plans to accelerate the development of their Smart or Gigabit City initative. In this regard, David has served as an advisor to the Google Fiber Mayors Bi-state Innovation Team MBIT and Mid-America Regional Council MARC of Kansas City and was also the co-author of Playing to Win – the Kansas City Google Fiber Playbook.

David is also the founder of The Gigabit City Summit. The Gigabit City Summit is a Telepresence based global round-table which explores the issues of leadership, funding, economic development and collaboration that are central to the success of all Smart City initiatives. Cities that have participated in the global round-table thus far include San Francisco, Kansas City, St. Louis, Toronto, Amsterdam, Moscow, Barcelona and Singapore.

From 2001-2008, David served as President of The St. Louis Regional Exchange Collaborative and was appointed by local government and Washington University to lead, fund and execute a plan for the economic development of the St. Louis metropolitan Internet – the first Smart City appointment of its kind in the United States. During this same period, David was also the co-founder of Datotel, a managed services and Cloud provider. As a result of these combined work experiences, David has significant business development and contractual experience in both the Smart City public and private sectors including municipal utilities, local government, education, public safety, healthcare, energy management and service provider Internet infrastructure.

From 1997 – 2001 David was a senior systems engineer in the Cisco Service Provider division located in Tulsa Oklahoma where he worked in theproduct development labs of WorldCom, Williams Communications and Brooks fiber. During this period, David was the lead designer of WorldCom’s MAE East and MAE West exchange points and Williams Communications private line backbone. While at Cisco Systems, David received several awards for Excellence, Product Development and Innovation.

David received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from Washington University in St. Louis where he also attended graduate school. He has also served on a variety of state and local government economic development councils as well as regional and entrepreneurial planning boards.


Be sure to check out Citizen Jane about urban planning pioneer Jane Jacobs.