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FCC, Knight Foundation Announce 'Apps for Communities' Contest

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Released: April 14, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

April 14, 2011
Robert Kenny, 202-418-1032
Marc Fest, 305-908-2677



Washington, D.C. In a new, nationwide contest announced today, communities and software developers
will compete to develop software applications ("apps") that get personalized, actionable information to
people least likely to take advantage of the digital revolution. The Apps for Communities Challenge is
part of the FCC's and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's efforts to foster digital inclusion and
promote broadband adoption. Details are posted at
Surrounded by Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco and Mayor Chuck Reed of
San Jose, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the contest. "This challenge uses the power of
broadband and the ingenuity of creative thinkers across America to help advance our country's broadband
agenda," said Chairman Genachowski. "I expect we'll see great new apps that use public data to help
people all over the country seize the broadband revolution and improve their access to jobs, health care
and educational opportunities."
"In the digital age, access to the Internet is fundamental to democracy. To the extent that a large portion
of Americans have no broadband access, they can't fully participate in this society and they also can't
become part of the demand that will drive further innovation. We are proud to partner with the FCC in an
effort to increase access to the Internet for all Americans and to entice them to actively use that access,"
said Alberto Ibargen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. He added, "Contests can promote
innovation in all sorts of unexpected ways. This particular challenge is designed to encourage and reward
people for solving local problems through technology. `Tech-for-engagement' is in its infancy but holds
huge promise."
The Apps for Communities Challenge seeks to take advantage of the local, public information coming
online on topics from education to health care, child care, government services and jobs and make it
easily accessible to the public. Contestants will be asked to turn that information into content, apps and
services that expand people's choices on critical issues. These apps could, for example, give people
valuable information about their communities in an easily digestible graphic on their mobile devices; help
seniors, immigrants, and others use tools such as Skype to communicate; allow consumers to choose a
health care provider; or deliver contract and seasonal job post alerts in English and Spanish via text
Knight Foundation is offering $100,000 dollars in prizes, with additional prizes awarded to the best apps
that reach and engage traditionally underserved communities--people with disabilities, seniors, and those
whose first language is not English.

The Apps for Communities Challenge is posted on, a new website and digital platform
where entrepreneurs, innovators and citizen solvers can compete for prizes by providing novel solutions
to problems large and small.
For additional information, contact Ellen Satterwhite at

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

: The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight
brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged
communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit


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