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April 10, 2008

Blogging From the Knight Center in Akron, Ohio

Today, The John and James Knight Foundation announced a 5 year, $25 million investment in Universal Access to create the 21st Century Public Square. The Knight Foundation partner for this unprecedented investment in Community Broadband Networking will be OneCommunity. $15m will be allocated to support the creation of an Akron-based Knight Center for Digital Excellence and another $10m for the 26 Knight Communities across the country.

In addition, the City of Akron, OneCommunity, and Knight Foundation announced plans to begin the development of a wireless mesh over much of the City combining universal access and public safety. OneCommunity and the Knight Foundation convened a city-wide stakeholders group less than a year ago and the results of the collaboration were on display as leaders of the academic, education, museum, and civic leadership from Akron were in attendance celebrating this announcement.

Connected Communities are an exceptional research and learning opportunity. Having the national Center of Excellence in Akron will afford Northeast Ohio an important opportunity to lead the nation in one of the most exciting, large scale design projects of the 21st century. As the Knight Foundation made clear, for the Foundation, the investment represents nothing less than a commitment to help write the story of transformation of the 21st century.

After more than eighteen months of cultivating relationships between the two organizations, the announcement today should serve to reframe the national debate in the United States. A quilt of Community Broadband Networks represents the most important strategic and public policy position for the future of America, combining the twin commitments of a 21st century strategy for improving quality of life and global competitiveness. As we think about our aspirations for our local communities in the context of the global economy, it's time to 'think local and act global'. Bringing community stakeholders together on developing a shared vision for a connected community that leverages advanced next generation technologies to address community priorities takes a major step forward today.

Lev Gonick
Akron, Ohio
April 10, 2008

Posted by lsg8 at April 10, 2008 01:29 PM and tagged

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