Broadband access is a very hot topic in Chicago, with efforts to make access available to all. From efforts to expand free access on the north side (concurrent with similar efforts on the south side) to news that the Chicago Public Library has received funding to allow patrons to "check out" hotspots, there's never been a time when the vision of digital excellence - access and literacy in digital tools for all of Chicago's neighborhoods - has never seemed brighter.
In that spirit, Chicago Net Tuesday is putting on an event this Thursday, June 26th, at the Overflow Coffee Bar (located on 15th and State in Chicago - please RSVP via Eventbrite) that you cannot miss. (Full Disclosure: I am a former organizer for the group).
This Thursday, Chicago Net Tuesday - along with the Chicago Digital Access Alliance, Connect Woodlawn Inc., the Woodlawn Broadband Expansion Partnership L3C, Southside Broadband Expansion Collaborative NFP, Partnership For A Connected Illinois and other groups - are holding a conversation about broadband expansion in Chicago and its potential for making strong impacts on Chicago and its diverse neighborhoods. Calling their approach “The Broadband Vision(™)”, the event will feature thought leaders from a variety of sectors, including business, government, social, and nonprofits. Focusing on the potential impact of broadband on Chicago, topics to be discussed that evening will include:
- The Power Of Broadband
- The Broadband Driven Economy
- Neighborhood WiFi In The Broadband Age
- How Connected Neighborhoods Drive Economic Expansion
- How Broadband Expansion Can Make Chicago #1
- Broadband In Metro Chicago WiFi Neighborhoods, FiberOptic Suburbs
- Why Startups Need To Choose Broadband Connected Neighborhoods
- Everyday Gigabit Speed Connectivity Fantasy Or The Future?
- Broadband And High Bandwidth Data Management
- An Action Agenda For The Broadband Vision In Chicago
But why hold the conversation at all? With increasing use of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, iPads) to access online tools, businesses moving towards cloud-based computing, and job development moving towards the establishment and use of social/professional networks, digital literacy is quickly becoming a must-have trait. With high interest in issues around Net Neutrality, this is becoming paramount for everyone - digital access is no longer an add-on, but is a critical tool in community development....and anyone with an interest in improving Chicago's neighborhoods is welcome to attend.
And as always, thanks for reading!