OneCommunity Announces Finalists in Big Gig Challenge

  • OneCommunity
CLEVELAND, OH — OneCommunity, a nonprofit provider of all-fiber optic broadband networks, announced that the cities of Beachwood, Fairlawn and South Euclid as well as the Village of Glenwillow, Lorain County Community College and the Stockyard, Clark-Fulton & Brooklyn Centre Community Development Corporation are finalists in its Big Gig Challenge, a grant incentive program designed to inspire creative ways for putting OneCommunity’s infrastructure to best use.

OneCommunity pledged to make funds available in the form of a grant for municipally-led, community-wide fiber construction projects. It was seeking proposals that establish creative and collaborative expansion opportunities that connect community anchor institutions, government facilities and business districts in an effort to attract and retain the innovative and entrepreneurial businesses of the twenty-first century. Funding will be provided through a public-private partnership approach with grant funding accounting for up to 25 percent of the total project costs for the awarded grantees.

Using Fiber Network to Spur Creative Strategies
“We are inspired by the innovative applications received in response to our Big Gig Challenge,” OneCommunity CEO Lev Gonick acknowledges. “It is our hope that this funding provides an impetus for further creative strategies and project implementations utilizing our ultra-high speed broadband fiber network throughout Northeast Ohio.”

Finalists City of South Euclid Mayor Georgine Welo and Dr. Roy A. Church, President of Lorain County Community College, were both enthusiastic about making the initial cut in the Big Gig Challenge. Mayor Welo stated that “providing high-speed fiber Internet access to our industrial businesses, our educational and medical institutions and, of course, our municipal buildings has long been our vision for South Euclid. Having the opportunity to partner with OneCommunity to make this vision a reality is truly a great honor and opportunity.

Dr. Church was equally excited about the possibilities that the Challenge provides. "We are delighted to be part of this exciting project and hopefully build upon our collaboration with OneCommunity. Access to high-speed fiber network is a must have for communities to connect and compete in the digital global environment. For Lorain County, we've partnered to build out this essential resource. The Big Gig Challenge brings this essential resource to life with real applications to drive government efficiencies, economic growth and enhanced educational delivery."

Seeking Economic Development Impacts
In August, applicants were requested to provide clearly defined project goals and economic development impacts. Additional credit was awarded for articulating specific businesses or industries being targeted as well as anticipated job creation and retention numbers and sustainability of the proposed model. Partnerships that included public, private and nonprofit representation were also given additional consideration.

Final proposals, providing a more detailed and robust final grant application outlining specific goals, expected outcomes and proposed funding sources are due on December 5, 2014.





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