The Connect Akron project is designed to provide free wireless Internet access to anyone within a projected 10 square mile radius of the network right in our own downtown of Akron, Ohio. From time to time here on the Lunch Pail I will take a moment to provide updates on this important project.
The project is currently in a time of leadership transition that will no doubt make it stronger and better aligned to meet objectives. The goals remain the same with the project having a target completion date by the summer of 2010. Akron’s ambition is to be an example to the entire country for the successful implementation and adoption of a free wireless network in a metropolitan area. While the project is a boon for businesses and workers in the downtown area, that segment does not represent the project’s only beneficiaries.
One of the more important ambitions of the project is to provide Internet access to folks that do not normally have it… closing the digital divide. The reasons for creating the wireless corridor on a downtown area are self-evident. But the opportunity to grant access to information for all is important not just for the continued success of business and economic development, but for society as a whole.
As the number of wireless access points increases each week, the project has also adopted the ambition of providing local citizens with free computers to access the free network. Training is already underway for citizens in every demographic and walk of life.
As Akron becomes an even better city to work in – with the ability for workers to be connected and plugged in anywhere within the city’s burgeoning network – the efforts to educate and provide access for all are pivotal for continued growth.
Cities all over the country are finding new and exciting ways to incorporate new technology. From Manor, Texas’ use of QR codes for citizens to get instant information about government sites around the city to Akron’s free wireless network, access is improving for all.