We have been meeting and discussing benefits to be negotiated when the City of Minneapolis sits down with the vendors to hammer out the contract to provide Wi-FI services. This will be the Community Benefits Agreement. (CBA) Philadelphia has done something similar with Earthlink.
Creating the CBA recommendation has been a long and arduous task that begin back in February. Our group – we ended up calling ourselves The Digital Inclusion Coalition – is comprised of city residents, with a heavy dose of people who work at nonprofits involved with technology training and access (check out the list in the main document). Our focus was to provide better access to the Internet for underserved populations. We want to use this CBA to help bridge the Digital Divide.
We continue meeting this Tuesday to plan a strategy for contacting the City Council with our report.
Pilot Project Update
Sara Dietrich, Assistant Communications Director for Minneapolis, sent along information about the status of the pilot projects.
Construction is complete for the two pilot projects, but they are just now doing some initial testing. My understanding is that the pilots will not technically “go live” until around July 1. Also, there are still discussions about whether/how folks in the pilot areas will be able to sign on to them. We will send information to the Wireless subscribers list (and send out a news release and do lots of other promotion) when those details are worked out.
In the interim, the Digital Inclusions Task Force has set up to Pilot/Demonstration community events … July 8 at the Phyllis Wheatley Center in North Minneapolis and July 14 at the Brian Coyle Community. The city will be promoting those events as well.