A community service program called Austin Free-Net, which the LBJ School has been affiliated with for three years, received a grant last fall from the Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The Austin Free-Net program provides low-income residents with access to advanced technologies so that they can develop the skills needed to compete in the 21st century. This year, LBJ School students enrolled in a policy research project directed by LBJ School Professor Lodis Rhodes and Gary Chapman, coordinator of the 21st Century Project at the LBJ School, examined what residents know about the superhighway and how they use it. The project has also developed an easy-to-use interactive tool to allow citizens to create information about their neighborhoods and post it to the World Wide Web.
As one of 67 programs selected from 800 applications, Austin Free-Net received $246,000.
According to Larry Irving, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, U.S. Department of Commerce, "The Austin Free-Net project was chosen because it will serve as a model for many communities across the country of how the information infrastructure can serve all Americans. . . ."
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1 May 97
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