Connecting state and local government leaders
Mozilla is backing robotics as well as augmented and virtual reality efforts boosting education and workforce development in Austin and elsewhere.
Mozilla awarded $275,000 this week across 18 projects leveraging gigabit-speed internet to innovate within their cities.
The Gigabit Community Fund has granted more than $800,000 to more than 60 winners in its four years, the grants themselves ranging from $5,000 to $28,000 each.
This year’s recipients came mostly from Austin with eight, though Eugene and Springfield, Oregon; Lafayette, Louisiana; Kansas City, Missouri; and Chattanooga, Tennessee all had projects funded.
“The gigabit projects we fund are built and piloted by community members to address real challenges in education and workforce development in their cities,” Lindsey Frost, Mozilla’s gigabit director, said in Wednesday’s announcement. “It’s all part of our mission to build a healthy internet that fuels a more open, equitable, and inclusive society.”
Projects utilizing internet speeds up to 250 times the average in cities Mozilla serves qualify, with those training first responders with augmented reality and highlighting coastal erosion through virtual reality simulations among this year’s standouts.
Partners included nonprofits, universities, museums, high schools and libraries.
The David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy’s Tiny House VR Project will act as a virtual walkthrough of a donated Habitat for Humanity house for Lafayette families transitioning from shelters or displacement to a permanent residence.
Another winner, E4 Youth, has Austin students catalogue local historic landmarks with 360-video as part of a Virtual Storytelling Curriculum.
Previously the Austin-based My Brother’s Keeper Coding Maker Space won.
Projects with widely deployed high-speed fiber networks, that foster digital literacy and access, partner with substantial community anchor organizations and entrepreneurs, and engage K-12 schools stand out.
The full list of winners is here.
Mozilla runs the fund along with the National Science Foundation and U.S. Ignite.
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.