Expanding broadband internet access is crucial for smart cities and the Internet of Things. Some cities, such as Philadephia, have been facing challenges where state laws limit municipalities’ ability to take the lead on broadband.

What many city officials don’t realize is that even when bogged down by state regulations, they can still progress toward smarter cities when they partner with private companies. Joanne Hovis, president of Maryland-based IT consultancy CTC Technology & Energy, says cash-strapped local governments can spur innovation by easing the permitting process to make it easier for private firms to make progress on building out broadband networks.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched its “Smart City Challenge,” which focused on cities forging new partnerships with the private sector and academic institutions. The city of Columbus, Ohio was declared the winner and has since expanded those partnerships and attracted more than $500 million in private funding. This funding is helping Columbus undertake a variety of smart city initiatives including installation of smart sensors to improve traffic flow and building out its transit system.

“The greatest challenge of the 21st century is to leverage innovation and technology to help people improve their own lives,” said Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther. Ginther cites the city’s smart city transportation applications as directly improving Columbus citizens’ lives by reconnecting isolated neighborhoods and allowing residents to more easily commute to jobs and health care services.

Smart city applications are known to improve citizens’ quality of life by providing safety, environmental and economic benefits. ClearWorld, with the use of its RetroFlex and other related game-changing alternative energy technologies and solutions, proves time and again vast benefits for the environment, economy, and society.