- Massachusetts Institute of Technology is part of a technology consortium seeking to provide free outdoor wifi to surrounding neighborhoods in the campus community.
- In a partnership with a local housing authority and tech conglomerate Google, the group built out fiber networks over three years to create Internet access for the Newtowne Court and Washington Elms communities.
- MIT will host the network that will serve neighborhoods in which more than 30% of residents do not have home-based online access.
This is the kind of town-gown community service project that is creating wins for institutions seeking broader regional outreach recognition while providing valuable professional development and potential revenue for the institution. For MIT, the initiative cost about $500,000, but is also a part of its economic development plan to attract more retail, dining and housing options to the area.
In an era with plummeting endowments and dwindling confidence in higher education, it is a sign of schools reaching into new business and revenue creation projects to support the academic enterprise while maintaining quality of education.