Millions in grants for wiring, unwiring communities: This week brings $61m in funding to efforts to put affordable broadband with useful purposes in communities across the U.S., Wired reports, between a $36m grant from AT&T and its foundation to One Economy, and a $25m effort by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. As Wired notes, One Economy will bring broadband to 500,000 low-income Americans in over 50 communities, with private partners handling deploying. They'll also develop audience-appropriate content. The Knight project will bring together grants and best-practices to help communities create self-sustaining Internet access. OneCommunity in Cleveland was cited as an example, and its head will take the job at a new Knight Center of Digital Excellence.
Akron is pretty ecstatic about the new Knight center, which will be built in its midst, as not only will the city become a center of thought about linking up communities, but a wireless project of its own will now be completed more rapidly. The Knight Foundation is putting in $625,000 towards the $2.2m project to unwire 10 sq mi. Other funds are coming from the city and the University of Akron. Akron's local paper, the Beacon Journal, was the first newspaper owned by the Knight family. [link via Daniel McKimm]
Parks across the U.S.--about 194 of 3,208--have Wi-Fi, but why? This USA Today article enumerates what parks in which states offer Internet access, but are hard-pressed to explain why it's useful. I do like the idea myself of having a lifeline back to people and information even when I'm away from it all, but it's hardly a necessity.
USA Today also runs down some transportation-Fi: The newspaper runs through a list of where Wi-Fi is available on various means of transit.