The FCC has teamed with The Knight Foundation on a contest
to develop an app to "deliver "personalized, actionable information
to people that are least likely to be online," including senior, the
disabled, lower-income and tribal communities.
While that sounds a little like a contest for creating a
tree that would make the loudest sound when it fell in the woods
with noone around to hear it, the idea appears to incentivize
providers of public databases and application developers to more actively
court/serve that tough-to-attract audience with apps whose relevance to their
lives and interests will drive them to broadband.
Examples the commission provided in announcing the contest
included apps that help seniors and immigrants use Skype to communicate, choose
a healthcare provider, or receive job postings as text messages.
The principal goals of the challenge are "make local
public information more personalized, usable, and accessible for all Americans;
promote broadband adoption, particularly among Americans who are less likely to
be regular Internet users (including low-income, rural, seniors, people with
disabilities and the low digital/English literacy communities); and
create better links between Americans and services provided by local, state,
Tribal, and federal governments."
Grand prize will be $30,000 (Knight is footing the bill),
second prize is $20,000, third prize is $10,000 and runners up get $5,000
apiece, with a total of $100,000 available including bonus awards for most
replicable application, best app for those with limited English, best app for
those with limited digital skills.
Submissions are being accepted now through midnight July 11.