digital divide

woodleywonderworks — Flickr CC

Students who don't have internet access at home are at risk of falling further behind at school as more teachers assign homework that requires web access. 

That trend has been called the "homework gap," and Sprint wants to help close it.

On Tuesday, the Overland Park-based company announced a new initiative, the 1Million Project, which will put mobile devices and free wireless service into the hands of one million students across the country. 

Courtesy photo - Creative Commons

A top official with Kansas City, Missouri, says the city is committed to moving forward with digital innovations.

That's despite this week's news that Kansas City lost it's bid for a $50 million grant to create a so-called "Smart City." Columbus, Ohio, won the prize.

Bob Bennett, the city's Chief Innovation Officer, says private partners have committed somewhere in the neighborhood of $36 million toward executing important parts of the city's proposal.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Collaboration. Open data. Public private partnerships. Streetcars.

These are a handful of reasons local leaders today told Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx  why Kansas City deserves the $40 million the U.S. Department of Transportation will award to one city later this year.

The secretary picked on one of these points after an hour-long  pitch in which officials, community leaders and tech businesses praised the local plan. 

The streetcar, he told them, had Kansas City moving.

Doing online research is almost required in school these days, but how can you do that without a reliable way to connect to the internet? Michael Liimatta, who manages the ConnectHome initiative for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, says that with more than half of public school kids living in poverty, plenty of people who should have web access still just can't afford it.

gigabitcitysummit.com

As more and more cities across the United States get access to gigabit Internet, more are asking the question — what do we do with it?

And a lot of those cities turn to Kansas City for help finding the answer.

Neighborhood Radio

Apr 12, 2016

Two local organizations are gearing up to start low-power FM stations to broadcast to specific communities within a 3-5 mile radius of the broadcast location. One of them, broadcasting from the Mutual Musicians Foundation, will focus on local jazz, gospel and soul at 18th and Vine. The other has an educational and community service mission. What's the story?

Guests:

  • Lewis George Walker, co-founder, KUAW 98.5 FM
  • James McGee, general manager, KOJH 104.7

Is our definition of what it means to be 'literate' changing in a digital age? Should it? We talk about why young people today need to understand how to use digital media for all aspects of their lives.

Guest:

When Google announced in 2011 that it would bring super-fast internet to Kansas City, Kan., many metro residents were eager to sign up. On today’s program, a panel discusses how gigabit download speeds have changed the region in the five years since.

Guests:

Google Fiber

Some low-income housing residents in Kansas City now have some of the fastest Internet in the country — for free.

Kansas City is the first place Google Fiber is giving away its premier service, at no cost to users or the government. That’s because the city has become a primary laboratory in the effort to close the digital divide.

Kansas City was the first to get Google Fiber, and the service came with a promise to help close the “digital divide."  

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City area residents have joined a nationwide effort petitioning Sprint to keep offering internet for nonprofit organizations through its WiMax service.

WiMax provides low-cost, high-bandwidth internet access with no data caps through mobile hotspots. Providers Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen use the service to hook up schools and other nonprofits.

Sprint acquired WiMax along with telecommunications company Clearwire in 2013, and decided to shut down the service and migrate customers over to its LTE service instead.