White House Invests $3.2 Million to Develop Gigabit Tech

The Mozilla Foundation will receive federal funding to support health care, energy and education initiatives.

by Chattanooga Times/Free Press, Tenn. / September 16, 2015
President Barack Obama discusses the Duolingo language learning app at the first White House Demo Day on Aug. 4. where he heard "pitches" from a variety of tech startups. The White House
(TNS) -- The National Science Foundation has designated part of a $3.2 million grant to help the Mozilla Foundation, makers of the Firefox browser, expand the nonprofit's gigabit technology work in Chattanooga, Kansas City, and three yet-to-be-named cities.

Mozilla began working in Chattanooga in earnest in 2012, with a hackathon designed to explore ways to take advantage of the city's gigabit speeds, which are about 250 times faster than regular Internet.

The additional money will allow the group's local office, called Hive Chattanooga, to build apps, improve education efforts and pursue workforce development, according to a news release.

The $3.2 million federal grant comes on the heels of a $300,000 fund launched in 2014 to spur innovation here and in Kansas City, working to create 17 gigabit apps like real-time water monitoring, 3D learning tools, and technology for first responders.

By building apps that take advantage of gigabit speeds, Mozilla hopes to demonstrate the need for such networks, which are most faster than most consumers currently require to engage in basic online tasks.

$150,000 in grants will be available in the first year of the program to help develop technology and curricula in Chattanooga. Other money will be used by the National Science Foundation and US Ignite to apply gigabit technology in the health care, energy and education fields, according to a blog post by Mozilla.

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