Athens Affordable Internet Challenge

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, over one-­third (34.5%) of Athens­-Clarke County residents live below the poverty line. Furthermore, poverty block groups comprise 20% of Athens-Clarke County. We believe that providing affordable, reliable internet connections would increase access to job openings, career opportunities, and training opportunities for unemployed and underemployed citizens. We also believe it would encourage more engagement in local government actions.

This challenge will require participants to develop a strategy for providing affordable internet access to low-income neighborhoods within Athens-Clarke county with low broadband subscription rates. Participants are encourage to explore the potential for wireless mesh networking as a possible solution.

The Challenge

  1. Identify the correlation between low-income neighborhoods and low internet subscription rates
  2. Create a strategy for providing internet access to these low-income neighborhoods by:
    1. Either identifying the most affordable internet connectivity services offered within these poverty block groups through existing internet service providers
    2. Or determining how best to build and support wireless mesh networks in these areas
  3. Outline an awareness campaign that targets lower income neighborhoods for the purposes of spreading this information
  4. Include local organizations such as Free IT Athens and Community Connection in both the strategy for providing internet access as well as the awareness campaign by:
    1. Identifying their strengths or relevant services
    2. Create a strategy for integrating said strengths/services

The Data

  1. Broadband Adoption Rates - Demographic data come from the U.S. Census' 2005-9 American Community Survey; Broadband adoption is based on the 768Kbps download / 200Kbps upload standard used by the Federal Communications Commission
  2. Comcast Internet Essentials - An affordable service offered by a major internet service provider that includes the option to purchase affordable hardware as well
  3. US Census Poverty Data - The Census Bureau poverty data reports from several major household surveys and programs