Ten U.S. cities have received grants of $100,000 each to help close the “digital divide,” under a program called Urban Challenge. 3Com Corp. and the U.S. Conference of Mayors recently announced the winning cities in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

As the sponsor of the Urban Challenge program, 3Com is donating a total of $1 million in equipment, training, and consulting to select cities where the mayor has shown dedication to using networked technology in schools and government.

3Com’s Urban Challenge will help the cities’ mayors bring hardware, software, internet access, and training to their communities by fostering partnerships between public officials and private companies to connect people and communities and to improve access to educational, health care, and other municipal resources.

“Urban Challenge is an excellent model to build from as public officials throughout the country work with the private sector to ensure that all Americans have access to the dividends of the digital economy,” said Greg Rhode, assistant secretary for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Commerce Department.

The 3Com Urban Challenge award was first offered to U.S. mayors in July 1999 when the Department of Commerce released its study “Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide.” The study outlined in detail the growing separation between those who have internet access and those in poor urban or rural areas who aren’t connected.

Cities receiving grants through the program are Baltimore; Charleston, S.C.; Chaska, Minn.; Chester, Pa.; Denver; Glasgow, Ky.; Madison, Wis.; New Orleans; Pontiac, Mich.; and Providence, R.I.

At the awards ceremony, 3Com also announced that its Urban Challenge program will extend through the year 2000 to 10 additional U.S. cities, awarding grants totaling another $1 million.

J. Thomas Cochran, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said, “Based on this program’s initial success, I see many more opportunities for pioneering companies to collaborate with innovative public officials to deliver access to technology in our schools and libraries and public facilities nationwide.”

The application deadline for the next round of grants is April 15, 2000, and winners will be announced in June. Applications must be submitted by city mayors’ offices; see the Urban Challenge web site for more details.

Links:

3Com’s Urban Challenge
http://www.3com.com/urbanchallenge


U.S. Conference of Mayors
http://www.usmayors.org/