Municipal WiFi systems in the US have been pretty much failures across the board, notes Engadet.
But the good people of Akron, Ohio are apparently in for another go-round — the city’s just commited some $800,000 to build out a free wireless network over the next five years.
The service will be installed and operated by a nonprofit called OneCommunity, which just received a $4.5M grant as part of a $25M commitment from the John S. and John L. Knight Foundation to implement digital access projects in 26 cities.
The University of Akron has kicked in another $350,000, since the signal will cover its campus as well as the downtown area — all in, some 90,000 residents and 31,000 workers will get access through the project. The network will start lighting up in the next year — let’s hope it fares better than other city WiFi projects.
The city’s six-term mayor said the free wireless corridor will cover about 80,000 to 90,000 residents and about 31,000 workers.
The Knight Foundation media innovation initiatives aim to keep the news business vital and healthy.
The Akron Beacon Journal was the first paper owned by the Knight family. The paper later became part of the Knight Ridder chain that was sold in 2006 to the McClatchey Co. The Knight Foundation was not affiliated with the newspaper chain but was the charitable foundation set up by the Knight brothers.
The nonprofit Knight Center of Digital Excellence will collect and share international best practices online with communities everywhere. It will provide on-the-ground aid to the Knight communities to develop technology strategies and enable citizens to connect with each other and the world.
McClatchy, one of the nation’s biggest newspaper chains, will cut its work force by 10 percent, or around 1,400 people, after having already eliminated about 2,000 jobs over 18 months. Newspaper ad sales have fallen 14 percent in the first-quarter — the steepest fall on record, reports Bloomberg. The Newspaper Association of America, which distributes the quarterly report, now says it will no longer send that information out to the press.
Silicon Alley Insider says The New York Times, like all U.S. newspapers, will eventually need to figure out how to make enough money from the Internet to make up for its declining print business.
We’ve been impressed with many of its recent digital projects, such as the simple TimesPeople social network, its variety of Twitter feeds, and the TimesMachine archive of really old papers. So what’s coming up? We asked Marc Frons, who’s been chief technology officer of the Times’ digital operations for two years. What we found out: All sorts of stuff is in the works…
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