A Public-Private Partnership for Gigabit Innovation and Internet Health

Chris Lawrence

Mozilla, the National Science Foundation and U.S. Ignite announce $300,000 in grants for gigabit internet projects in Eugene, OR and Lafayette, LA

 

By Chris Lawrence, VP, Leadership Network

At Mozilla, we believe in a networked approach — leveraging the power of diverse people, pooled expertise and shared values.

This was the approach we took nearly 15 years ago when we first launched Firefox. Our open-source browser was — and is — built by a global network of engineers, designers and open web advocates.

This is also the approach Mozilla takes when working toward its greater mission: keeping the internet healthy. We can’t build a healthy internet — one that cherishes freedom, openness and inclusion — alone. To keep the internet a global public resource, we need a network of individuals and organizations and institutions.

One such partnership is Mozilla’s ongoing collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. Ignite. We’re currently offering a $2 million prize for projects that decentralize the web. And together in 2014, we launched the Gigabit Community Fund. We committed to supporting promising projects in gigabit-enabled U.S. cities — projects that use connectivity 250-times normal speeds to make learning more engaging, equitable and impactful.

Today, we’re adding two new cities to the Gigabit Community Fund: Eugene, OR and Lafayette, LA.

Beginning in May 2017, we’re providing a total of $300,000 in grants to projects in both new cities. Applications for grants will open in early summer 2017; applicants can be individuals, nonprofits and for-profits.

We’ll support educators, technologists and community activists in Eugene and Lafayette who are building and beta-testing the emerging technologies that are shaping the web. We’ll fuel projects that leverage gigabit networks to make learning more inclusive and engaging through VR field trips, ultra-high definition classroom collaboration, and real-time cross-city robot battles. (These are all real examples from the existing Mozilla gigabit cities of Austin, Chattanooga and Kansas City.)

We’re also investing in the local communities on the ground in Eugene and Lafayette — and in the makers, technologists, and educators who are passionate about local innovation. Mozilla will bring its Mozilla Network approach to both cities, hosting local events and strengthening connections between individuals, schools, nonprofits, museums, and other organizations.

Video: Learn how the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund supports innovative local projects across the U.S.

Why Eugene and Lafayette? Mozilla Community Gigabit Fund cities are selected based on a range of criteria, including a widely deployed high-speed fiber network; a developing conversation about digital literacy, access, and innovation; a critical mass of community anchor organizations, including arts and educational organizations; an evolving entrepreneurial community; and opportunities to engage K-12 school systems.

We’re excited to fuel innovation in the communities of Eugene and Lafayette  — and to continue our networked approach with NSF, U.S. Ignite and others, in service of a healthier internet.

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