Update: Wi-Fi for Rosedale Ridge

OCTOBER 22, 2012

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rosedale

We brought free Wi-Fi to all 168 units at Rosedale Ridge on 12/14/2012

Rosedale Ridge is a Section 8 low income housing project in Kansas City, Kansas.  In a survey conducted in July in partnership with the Kansas City Urban Youth Center, we learned that 80% of the families had no Internet connection at home.  This is tragic in light of the fact that more than half the people in this under resourced community are children under 12 years old.  The reason most cited is that the residents simply cannot afford it.  This comes as no surprise when you consider the fact that the average income of families who live there is $10,000.

Additionally, all school students in the Kansas City, Kansas School District get a laptop to take home with them.  But, it is estimated that less than one-third are taking them to homes where they have an Internet connection. At Rosedale Ridge, we could find only one student who could use her school-issued computer at home.

One of our core beliefs at Connecting for Good is that connectivity equals opportunity.  Access to the Internet brings with it a chance to apply for jobs online, connections with family and friends, access to virtual library shelves, information about medical and health issues, online education – GED completion and college courses – and a whole lot more.  These are resources with the potential to help an under resourced family move toward a healthier, happier and more secure future. Along with a broadband Internet connection, we are also including digital literacy training and distributing very inexpensive computers as part of this initiative.

The good news is that we have made significant progress toward bringing free wi-fi to Rosedale Ridge!

Though we could not use Google Fiber for this project (see posting), we will, instead, be partnering with the Free Network Foundation to beam the bandwidth from a data center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri using microwave technology. By becoming an ISP ourselves, we will be doing this at a cost that is close to what we would have paid for Google Fiber had we been allowed to use it.  Additionally, to spread the signal to the entire housing complex, we have received a donation from One Economy Corporation of good used wi-fi antennas.

Two other pieces are coming together as well.  Board member, Dan Harmon, has created a collection of digital literacy training resources that will form the backbone of the curriculum that we will use both at Rosedale Ridge and with our Mobile Computing Lab.  We will be partnering with the KC Urban Youth Center staff to work with the residents of this housing complex.

And finally, we are beginning to receive used computer equipment that will be used to place very inexpensive recycled PCs into the hands of needy people.  This will help residents at Rosedale Ridge get online, along with helping to overcome the hardware obstacle so many people in other neighborhoods face, though they can afford to sign up for Google Fiber’s seven years of Internet for $300 deal (payable at $25 a month for a year).

With all of this coming together, we expect to have Rosedale Ridge “lit up” very soon.  If you have an interest in getting involved, please contact us!

Written by Tom Esselman

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