Mozilla creates Gigabit Community Fund to benefit Chattanooga, create practical solutions using the gig

Authored By chloe.morrison

Leaders with Mozilla are asking Chattanooga residents to work together to develop applications for gigabit technology.

“The challenge with the gig Internet is that you don’t have limits,” Chattanooga Mozilla representative Lindsey Frost Cleary said. “It’s hard to imagine what’s possible. The whole goal is not to imagine what could be possible, but what we can do with it now. What can we create in 12 weeks? What’s a challenge in workforce development or education that we can solve in 12 weeks?” 

In partnership with the National Science Foundation, Mozilla-the tech company behind open-source browser Firefox-has created the Gigabit Community Fund, which means $150,000 of funding for Chattanooga projects that utilize the gig to improve education and workforce development. 

Another $150,000 will go to Kansas City innovators who create gig applications. 

Funding will go to projects with tangible potential for community impact, officials said.

There must be representatives from a brick-and-mortar, mission-driven organization on each team. The goal is to move from gigabit prototypes to “minimum viable pilots,” Will Barkis, director of the Gigabit Community Fund, wrote in a blog post. 

On Feb. 6, members of the community can gather at The Public Library to get more information, form teams and brainstorm. Organizers encourage interested parties to drop by for part or all of the daylong event. Click here for more information about the event or to RSVP. 

After teams are formed, members can submit ideas online, and leaders on an advisory panel will vote on who receives funding, which will come in two rounds-one in the spring and one in the summer. 

The most money that one team can get is $30,000, said D.J. Trischler, who is working to select facilitators for the event. 

Officials have chosen brainstorming tracks that include education, digital inclusion and access, digital marketing and storytelling, informal education, and economic and workforce development. 

Trischler has identified local leaders who will act as facilitators for brainstorming events. He said he’s working to get a diverse group.

“[They will] help pull ideas out of other people,” he said. “I wanted people who I thought would be good at listening but also not afraid to ask challenging questions to the groups of people who will be brainstorming.”

Cleary said that Mozilla has funded Chattanooga nonprofit Engage 3D, which she named as a good example of what can develop from these types of events. Click here and here for more about Engage 3D.

Barkis said that organizers need everyone’s help to make the most of the Gigabit Community Fund.

“This is something we have to do together,” he said.