The Sunshine Coast has been ranked in the world’s top 7 ‘intelligent communities’ by the not-for-profit research group, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).

The ICF’s Top 7 Intelligent Communities of 2019 celebrates the cities that are doing the best job of using technology to increase efficiencies, expand opportunities and build sustainable prosperity.

The full list comprised:

  • Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Hudson, Ohio, USA
  • Sarnia-Lambton County, Ontario, Canada
  • Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • Taoyuan, Taiwan
  • Westerville, Ohio, USA.

ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla said 6 of the cities were appearing on the list for the first time, and that even smaller centres far from the world’s technology hubs could now be digital achievers.

‘They may not be as familiar to the world as some of our previous recipients, but in this century, it is becoming obvious that any place can become great once the playing field is levelled,’ Mr Zacharilla said.

‘Thanks to digital technology, the size and location of a community matter far less than ever before.

‘People can stay home and thrive.’

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said making the list was a significant achievement for the local community, and recognised council’s investment in game-changing projects such as the International Broadband Submarine Cable and many other initiatives.

The international broadband project will see an undersea fibre-optic cable extended to the Sunshine Coast, giving the region Australia’s fastest telecommunications connection to Asia from 2020.

The cable will help drive diversification of the Sunshine Coast economy, improve connections between local businesses and Asian markets, and attract new business and investment, particularly from organisations with big-data requirements.

Construction has started and the project is due for completion in 2020.

Enhancing digital capabilities is one of the priorities of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022, and the Queensland Government is supporting the undersea cable project with $15 million from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.

The Top 7 Intelligent Communities 2019 list was announced in Canada on 11 February. One of the 7 cities in the list will be named the Intelligent Community of the Year at the ICF Summit in June in New York City.

For advice on Sunshine Coast trade and investment opportunities, contact TIQ’s Sunshine Coast office.