Sustainable Broadband Adoption

Smart Chicago has a grant agreement with the City of Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology to complete the work under Award No. 17-43-B10507, for the Sustainable Broadband Adoption portion of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has also awarded a grant to support this project.

Computers, chairs, and business resource books at the Auburn Gresham Development Corporation

Workstations at the Auburn Gresham Development Corporation.

The SmartChicago SBA project page on the NTIA Web site has a wealth of information, including the project application, the award agreement, and quarterly reports filed by the City. Here’s the project summary:

The SmartChicago Sustainable Broadband Adoption program intends to spur economic development in five disadvantaged neighborhoods in Chicago with a comprehensive broadband awareness and adoption program that will include providing computers and training opportunities to more than 11,000 residents and 500 small businesses and not-for-profits. The project intends to create public computer centers at six community centers for working families and expand workstation capacity at four Business Resource Centers, as well as provide 1,500 residents and small businesses who complete a multi-session training course with laptops and netbooks. SmartChicago plans to conduct a citywide multilingual broadband awareness campaign that will reach an estimated 200,000 residents, including ads on radio, TV, print, and city buses; outreach by local community organizations in each neighborhood; and the creation of neighborhood-based Web portals.

The formation of Smart Communities– then called “Digital Excellence Demonstration Communities”– was suggested in the May 2007 report titled, “The City that NetWorks: Transforming Society and Economy Through Digital Excellence“:

…Digital Excellence Demonstration Communities should be selected by the Partnership for comprehensive programming to achieve digital excellence and transformation and to serve as test beds for programs to be deployed throughout the city.

LISC Chicago is the key entity in this important project, and they maintain the Smart Communities Web site with many stories and photos about their great work. LISC worked with neighborhood/community organizations and residents to develop a master plan for digital excellence and were key partners with the City in creating the application for the SBA BTOP grant.

Smart Chicago assists the City of Chicago in administering this grant. Smart Chicago also administers the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s portion of the grant, while the City of Chicago administers DePaul University’s Digital Media Learning efforts and program evaluation research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.