Applies for Knight News Challenge Grant to Enhance Data, Build Out Wiki and Offer Video

Press Releases November 1st, 2008

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WASHINGTON, November 1 – applied on Saturday for a News Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The application, which can be viewed online at the web site, lays out a plan of action for the future work of this web site.

Here’s the text of the application:

Project Title: is Crowdsourcing Internet Access Community-by-Community: It’s the Building Block

Requested amount from Knight News Challenge:


Expected amount of time to complete project:

1 [year]

Total cost of project including all sources of funding:


Describe your project:

You are probably reading this on a computing device. You probably have either a wired or a wireless internet connection. You probably have broadband access. What else do you know about your broadband connection? How well does your connection work? Is your carrier limiting your bandwidth? Do your neighbors have the broadband speeds and services that they need to connect to you? wants you to know everything about your broadband options. We want communities to know. The internet is international, but all broadband is local. understands this. We are building the knowledge base about broadband – through data, news and now through video. Just as the market for real estate relies upon public land records, the market for local broadband needs the public records of the Broadband Census. allows you to find out about and monitor your local carrier, to see how your neighbors rate your carrier, and take a speed test and offer comments. We’re using crowdsourcing on the internet to share and compare knowledge about the internet. This free data about actual speed results becomes the foundation for our news and reporting about broadband issues. is currently rolling out a wiki with entries for every state, county, city and broadband carrier. Our reporters are writing about broadband deployments on a state and city level. We’re building communities of individuals who see the need to map out local and state broadband facilities. We’re finding the stories and crunching the data the show communities whether they have universal broadband. Working with other strategic partners in non-profit, educational and local communities, we plan to showcase and share videos helping communities pursue their digital destinies.

How will your project improve the way news and information are delivered to geographic communities?

The internet is the knowledge-pipe of today. Given the vital role that fiber, copper and wireless play in our day-to-day lives, the means of transmission must be opened up and inspected. does this, improving the operation of the internet marketplace one person and one community at a time.

Local communities are involved in all three of our projects: our data-gathering component, our news-stream/broadband wiki, and the video showcase we plan to release. displays data and news nation-wide, but our site incorporates Broadband Census Indiana and others, offering state-wide and city-wide views of the broadband marketplace. We’re also building a community through our Broadband Census for America conferences.

How is your idea innovative? (new or different from what already exists)

Commercial broadband providers know where they offer service, and where they don’t. wants to equalize knowledge. We provide internet end-users with data, information and video resources about the providers. As communities consider their internet options, they want the most complete information about broadband – and they want to learn and share knowledge from other communities that have offered citizens internet access. is the platform to freely and openly share news and data about broadband communities and about carriers. Particularly as Bells and cable operators begin to meter out bitstreams, citizen-users of their network will use as the neutral third party to monitor carriers.

What experience do you or your organization have to successfully develop this project?

Drew Clark is one of the toughest and most comprehensive telecom, media and technology journalists in the United States. He is widely respected for his fairness and insight in covering Washington-based internet issues. As the Editor and Executive Director of, which he created in December 2007 to provide the public with an objective measure of where broadband is available and which carriers offer it, Clark sees the company as an ally and partner of local communities, cities, counties and states on the all-important issue of building good internet access block-by-block.

Prior to launching, Clark led the “Well Connected” Project at the Center for Public Integrity. As Senior Fellow and Project Manager there, he directed all aspects of this investigative journalism venture monitoring the political influence of the communications industries. He was responsible for the five million-record Media Tracker database, the most comprehensive collection of information about media ownership. Seeing broadband as the next key battleground, he initiated the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for local internet data at the Federal Communications Commission.

From 1998 to 2006, Clark was Senior Writer at the National Journal Group, where he was editor, writer, columnist, commentator, moderator and host of technology coverage, leading comprehensive reporting of telecommunications, privacy, antitrust, free speech and intellectual property. Clark brings the journalistic expertise, the management capacity, and the passion to stand up to incumbent interests.

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