CNN reports Athens, Georgia, is building a “cloud” over several blocks of the downtown area. Anyone can have free Internet access. Students at the U/G School of Journalism and Mass Communication will be assigned to work with local merchants to come up with ideas that use wireless capabilities to bring in business.
Content ideas include:
- Music: On any given night in this college town, 40 bands might be taking the stage at local bars and coffee houses. The wireless “cloud” could provide a chance to sample a song or two. Oregon Live does it now.
- Retail: In a rush for lunch? Select a local restaurant menu, place an order, even pay online. By the time you walk a few blocks to the cafe, food would be ready.
- World market: Small business world-wide could be included in the world economy by selling their products online. Language translation could eliminate barriers.
Other communities have similar projects:
- Habitat for Humanity has launched a $1 million pilot program to put free computers and Internet access into all its homes in the Winston-Salem area. It may eventually expand the effort nationwide.
- Davis Community Network, a 501c3, works with community organizations projects like providing migrant farm worker families internet access and may provide wireless access.
- In Boston’s low-income Camfield Estates, they’re building a community – with software. Residents share knowledge, skills, and resources among themselves.
- Every seventh-grader gets a laptop in Maine.
- Essential eGovernment services from www.myVirginia.org are now accessible with wireless devices. By the end of the year, My Mobile Virginia is scheduled to provide mobile access to DMV, Human Resource, Virginia Lottery, Virginia public library location search; State Police, State Parks information and more.
- Jacksonville, Florida provides free Wireless Internet Zones (WIZ) while Netario provides free public-access Bluetooth “hot spots”.
- The city of Buffalo, Minnesota, owns and operates its own Wireless Broadband system. Residential customers pay $29.99/month for 128 kbps.
- The city of LaGrange, Ga. offers free Internet access to everyone in the city. About half of LaGrange’s approximately 10,000 residents now have Internet access 15 percent of them via cable television.
- Smart Communities exist in Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada.