OneCommunity and the Future of Internet
by Lev Gonick, CEO
Writing about the path towards tomorrow’s Internet, Steve Lohr of the NYTimes focused on the mega trends driving the next big thing in the world of ultrahigh speed Internet and advanced communication. He chose to reference work and collaboration underway in Cleveland catalyzed by OneCommunity and our partners. In our panel discussion with Lohr I underscored our current work on supporting Cleveland’s Health-Tech Corridor, our engagement with cities across the region in the Big Gig Challenge, celebrating start up ventures like Surgical Theater, and our convening work in launching the [R]IoT.
I have had the privilege of being one of the region’s digital ambassadors for over a decade. As I reflect on recent invitations to participate in broadband summits in cities like Austin and Kansas City or invitations to help catalyze regional conversations in communities across the country, as they seek to craft their own digital strategies, I am mindful that we have much to celebrate here on the northcoast.
Over the past decade, policy makers, civic leaders, the digerati, and grassroots activists have highlighted the pioneering work of OneCommunity’s regional collaboration. We are a proof point in the value of a community coming together to chart its digital future. When the FCC called for the development of a National Broadband Plan in 2009, one of the filings with the FCC called OneCommunity “an important model for America’s broadband revival”. When the broadband plan, Connecting America was issued in 2010, the work of OneCommunity and the R&D efforts of our founding institutional partner Case Western Reserve was highlighted as a model of engaging with what became known in technology policy circles as “community anchor institutions”. In 2011, both Case Western Reserve and OneCommunity were founding partner in the University Community Next Generation Innovation Project known as Gig.U. This national initiative, led by Blair Levin, architect of the National Broadband Plan has helped to catalyze the development of new models of deployment of next generation networks, like OneCommunity, in cities around the country. When the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy partnered with the NSF to launch an organization to catalyze next generation applications and services that would run on advanced networks, OneCommunity was invited to participate. OneCommunity is a founding board member of US Ignite, as the initiative has been branded. In 2014 OneCommunity was invited to be a founding member and advisor to the national Coalition for Local Internet Choice.
While there is much work still to be done, the work of all those involved with OneCommunity, our Board, our community partners, customers, and team members represents an extraordinary organic and dynamic model of broad engagement in an effort to architect a digital future that is inclusive and sustainable.
As you will see in this newsletter, our work remains focused on accelerating the deployment of next generation digital infrastructure in our region. We are also bringing our public benefit agenda to emergent and potentially transformational technologies like the Internet of Things that leverage fiber optic networks. As Lohr’s quotes in his concluding paragraph:
“We need an Internet of Things infrastructure that actually serves the public good,” Mr. Gonick said. “It doesn’t happen because the infrastructure is there,” he added. “It takes leadership,” by communities, the national government and corporations that recognize open standards are in their long-term interest as well.