Connecting for Good

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Issues:

Location: 1009 Locust Street Kansas City KS 66101 USA

Mission: Connecting for Good is committed to closing the Digital Divide in the Kansas City area so that all citizens, regardless of their incomes, have access to broadband Internet.
Results: We are just completing the process of bring free wireless broadband Internet all 250 units of the Rosedale Ridge public housing project in Kansas City, KS. We are also in the process of obtaining donations of PC hardware that will be provided to residents of this project and other low income communities who go through our digital literacy training program.
Programs: 1) Assisting under-resourced families and individuals to obtain affordable broadband Internet access, especially in their own homes. With Google Fiber’s launch, we will be focusing on assisting those who can’t pay the full $300 Google Fiber connection fee. This could mean paying some or all of the expense for low income people. In addition, for low income communities such as public housing projects, we have a strategy to get them online using Wi-Fi from various available Inernet providers. Our leadership includes individuals who work in IT and have actually installed several neighborhood Wi-Fi networks. We believe Wi-Fi is a very viable approach, especially with the increasing use of smartphones in minority communities. Not only is it the only way many connect to the Internet, Wi-Fi used for phone calls can help those whose calling plans have limited minutes.At this time, we plan our first build out of a free community Wi-Fi network at the Rosedale Ridge low income housing project. Our desire is for this to serve as a demonstration project for what we hope to bring to other low income neighborhoods across Kansas City. We are also hoping to begin discussions with the public housing authorities on both sides of the state line to see if similar projects can be done in the facilities they manage. 2) Helping people in lower income brackets to acquire reasonably priced Internet-connected devices and equipment. Thousands in our area have no PC at home and cannot take advantage of all the benefits of Internet connectivity. We will be seeking to obtain desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones for this purpose. We were recently approached about receiving a significant donation of refurbished computers. We would like to offer them to low income residents at an extremely low price. We are considering a policy of requiring those who get these PCs to complete a few sessions of the digital literacy training program. 3) Offering digital literacy experiences to help people in under-resourced communities access online resources and create a brighter future for themselves and their families. It will be at least a year before Google Fiber is brought to most low income Kansas City neighborhoods. This means we have time to do a push to introduce people to broadband computing. We want to encourage those with the resources to pay the$25.00 per month for the first year and Google Fiber’s offer of free 5 Mb service for an additional six years. By providing hands on experiences with broadband Internet, we believe they will understand what can be done online and see the possibilities for themselves. To accomplish this, we are developing a portable computer lab that can be setup in key locations in our targeted communities in order to introduce residents to the world of broadband computing. A group of committed volunteers are already in place and we plan to connect with the libraries and other community institutions to conduct free training and awareness sessions.

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