Lev Gonick, VP of information technology at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland and a major force in OneCleveland (part of Intel's Digital Communities), has a prerelease excerpt from a major report from the Haas Charitable Trust, "Broadband Community Networks: Building the Digital Commons," which features the OneCleveland broadband initiative as a "model" for municipal wireless broadband across the U.S.
OneCleveland is a nonprofit provider of community-based ultra high-speed broadband to educational, governmental, research, cultural and healthcare organizations. It is about to extend its services into Northeast Ohio as a whole, including the cities of Akron and Youngstown.
The clients are nonprofits, research, cultural and educational institutions of all kinds, as well as government agencies. ...
Through these partner/members, OneCleveland serves individuals at one remove – that is, people subscribing to the member organizations, or working with them, or making use of them, receive the benefit of OneCleveland’s super connectivity. The ultra broadband network has mostly been created by lighting up dark fiber that covered a remarkable amount of the city of Cleveland and its suburbs. Most of the fiber was donated by its owners, and a lot of the backbone equipment used to operate the network was given by Cisco Systems. Global Crossing’s core router in downtown Cleveland provides the principal link to the Internet.
... What is now needed – and Cleveland is the perfect place to do it because its institutions have an unusual willingness to partner while still preserving their competitiveness – is some concentrated experimentation in other kinds of content development. In particular, government and community agencies need to set the technologists to work to develop ways in which social services can usefully and economically make use of broadband distribution. Can healthcare, notably the large part of it that involves education, be better disseminated over interactive broadband? Can welfare-to-work (again, the educational elements) be better achieved via broadband? Can employment opportunities, job retraining, services for senior citizens, and hundreds of other services for all parts of the population be efficiently (and humanely) delivered over broadband to people in their homes or at some convenient gathering point?