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On April 14, in Oakland California, Chairman Genachowski announced that the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") is co-sponsoring a nationwide contest to develop software applications ("apps") that get personalized, actionable information to people least likely to take advantage of the digital revolution.  We wanted to reach out to you to let you know of this new FCC initiative.  Attached is a news release and Chairman Genachowski's prepared remarks.  We hope you will be able to share this with your network to get out the word about this contest. 


Washington, D.C. - In a new, nationwide contest announced today, communities and software developers will compete to develop software applications ("apps") that get personalized, actionable information to people least likely to take advantage of the digital revolution.


The Apps for Communities Challenge is part of the FCC and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's efforts to foster digital inclusion and promote broadband adoption. Details are posted at Appsforcommunities.challenge.gov.


Surrounded by Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco and Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the contest. "This challenge uses the power of broadband and the ingenuity of creative thinkers across America to help advance our country's broadband agenda," said Chairman Genachowski.  "I expect we'll see great new apps that use public data to help people all over the country seize the broadband revolution and improve their access to jobs, health care and educational opportunities."


"In the digital age, access to the Internet is fundamental to democracy.  To the extent that a large portion of Americans have no broadband access, they can't fully participate in this society and they also can't become part of the demand that will drive further innovation.  We are proud to partner with the FCC in an effort to increase access to the Internet for all Americans and to entice them to actively use that access," said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation.  He added, "Contests can promote innovation in all sorts of unexpected ways.  This particular challenge is designed to encourage and reward people for solving local problems through technology.  'Tech-for-engagement' is in its infancy but holds huge promise."


The Apps for Communities Challenge seeks to take advantage of the local, public information coming online - on topics from education to health care, child care, government services and jobs - and make it easily accessible to the public. Contestants will be asked to turn that information into content, apps and services that expand people's choices on critical issues.  These apps could, for example, give people valuable information about their communities in an easily digestible graphic on their mobile devices; help seniors, immigrants, and others use tools such as Skype to communicate; allow consumers to choose a health care provider; or deliver contract and seasonal job post alerts in English and Spanish via text message.


Knight Foundation is offering $100,000 dollars in prizes, with additional prizes awarded to the best apps that reach and engage traditionally underserved communities-people with disabilities, seniors, and those whose first language is not English.


The Apps for Communities Challenge is posted on Challenge.gov, a new website and digital platform where entrepreneurs, innovators and citizen solvers can compete for prizes by providing novel solutions to problems large and small.  The challenge can be found at http://appsforcommunities.challenge.gov/.  Check out the FCC's blog also at http://beta.fcc.gov/blog/apps-communities


The links below are to the New Release on Apps for Communities:





The links below are to Chairman Genachowski Prepared Remarks for Apps for Communities Launch Event:






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