ellohay! West Michigan

Have Your Say for the Future of Philly WiFi, via NTEN

Posted in benchmarks, bookmarks, feedback, wifi by forgr on May 6, 2008

If you live or work in the Philadelphia area, set aside some time on the evening of June 3 for a public forum on the future of wifi in that city.

“The promise of a city where everyone has the potential to be connected, opens new doors for economic, social and political participation.”

Read the full NTEN article here.

Collapsing Benchmarks?

Posted in benchmarks, potential problems, wifi by forgr on March 24, 2008

New York Times: Hopes for Wireless Cities Fade as Internet Providers Pull Out

“EarthLink announced on Feb. 7 that ‘the operations of the municipal Wi-Fi assets were no longer consistent with the company’s strategic direction.’ Philadelphia officials say they are not sure when or if the promised network will now be completed.

For Cesar DeLaRosa, 15, however, the concern is more specific. He said he was worried about his science project on global warming.

‘If we don’t have Internet, that means I’ve got to take the bus to the public library after dark, and around here, that’s not always real safe,’ Cesar said, seated in front of his family’s new computer in a gritty section of Hunting Park in North Philadelphia. His family is among the 1,000 or so low-income households that now have free or discounted Wi-Fi access through the city’s project, and many of them worry about losing access that they cannot otherwise afford.”

“Back in Philadelphia, Cesar’s older sister, Tomasa DeLaRosa, said she had faith that city officials would find a way to finish the network and keep her Internet service going.

‘Our whole house is totally different now,’ said Ms. DeLaRosa, 19, who had never had Internet access at home until last December because she could not afford it.

After signing up for a job training program and completing its course work, Ms. DeLaRosa received a free laptop, training and a year’s worth of free wireless service from Esparanza, a community group.

Greg Goldman, chief executive of Wireless Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization that was set up as part of the city’s deal with EarthLink, said that about $20 million had already been spent on the network, and only about $4 million more would be needed to cover the rest of the city.

Mr. Goldman’s organization is responsible for providing bundles that include a free laptop, Internet access, training and technical support to organizations like Esparanza so they can use them as incentives for their low-income clients like Ms. DeLaRosa to complete job training and other programs.

‘For us and a lot of people in this neighborhood,’ Ms. DeLaRosa said, ‘the Internet is like a path out of here.'”

Serving organizations

Posted in discovery stages, mission statement, organization, planning, support by forgr on March 8, 2008

Should we serve entire organizations? For-profit business groups and not-for-profit groups?

The Philadelphia Wireless group offers bundles, $600 each for organizations. That covers the machine, the education, the support, and the discounted rate on internet access. That bundle provides tools to help serve their community… and it’s good.

If yes, we should serve them, what’s that right model for serving organizations? They need help too. In a perfect world, Executive Directors would be able to negotiate tools, resources and opportunities for each other. They should be able to help each other help people.

Is is scope creep on our mission statement? Weigh in… with a “yes” or a “no”.