City of Minneapolis seeks BTOP grants to get broadband to public housing

Business Information Systems at the City of Minneapolis is applying for NTIA??Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant money to bring broadband to Minneapolis Public Housing highrises. The request was approved at the August 10 Ways & Means meeting.??Full text of the request is below.

Since they are looking at using Wi-Fi, I will surmise that US Internet Wireless (USIW) will be involved in the deployment. Did anyone consider broadband via fiber which would be much faster and not require any Wi-Fi cards? Another option would be a community wireless system using Open Source hardware and software. I would guess that it would be far cheaper than USIW's equipment. I know of at least one non-profit that might be interested in working on something like that.??

Here's the request (also available at the City's site):

The Recovery Act directed The Department of Commerce???s National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities across the U.S., increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits. The result is the NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP). BTOP will provide grants to fund broadband infrastructure, public computer centers and sustainable broadband adoption projects.

BIS has partnered with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) and seeks approval to apply for two grants:??

1. Infrastructure – ??to bring broadband into Minneapolis Public Housing highrises??
2. Sustainable Adoption – to develop and deploy an awareness campaign; provide training; purchase and distribute hardware to connect with mobile and WiFi (iTouch, Netbooks); and to update the Minneapolis Civic Garden portal to provide multi-lingual support, mobile accessibility, and ideation software. The sustainable adoption project will reach out to all MPHA residents including Section 8.

In addition to MPHA, BIS is partnering with area organizations.??

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