Mayor Greg Fischer today joined PNC, the Louisville Central Community Centers and other partners to celebrate the grand opening of the pilot PNC Gigabit Experience Center in Russell.
The PNC Gigabit Experience Center, located in the Old Walnut Street development of Louisville Central Community Centers, 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd., gives Louisvillians access to wireless super-fast internet speeds in a modern, collaborative setting.
The center will have laptops available for use there, free of charge. The city, LCCC and other partners also plan to offer technology courses and related events at the center.
Mayor Fischer is urging all Louisvillians to visit the center.
“The growth of Louisville’s digital economy must be inclusive of all residents no matter their ZIP code — for the budding entrepreneurs and innovators of today and for the families of tomorrow,” Mayor Fischer said. “The PNC Gigabit Experience Center allows residents of Russell and the entire city realize the potential that technology has for the future of our community and economy.”
The pilot version of the PNC Gigabit Experience Center will be open through July, providing the partners an idea about how best to offer free super-fast Wi-Fi in the Russell neighborhood in the future. They’ll do that in coordination with Vision Russell, a neighborhood redevelopment project, funded through the $29.5 million HUD Choice Neighborhoods grant.
This pilot version of the Gigabit Experience Center will be open at LCCC from:
Thanks to the generous support of Heine Brothers, the center will provide free coffee for up to 50 people every weekday morning in the month of May.
“The Gigabit Experience Center will help attract entrepreneurs and support job creation strategies at the Old Walnut Street complex,” said LCCC CEO Kevin Fields. “We appreciate Mayor Fischer’s vision to bring this critical investment to our Center.”
The PNC Gigabit Experience Center is part of Louisville Metro’s digital inclusion strategy, which includes efforts to increase home internet access and train residents with fundamental skills of the 21st Century. Other efforts include the launch of free public Wi-Fi in the Russell neighborhood, an interactive data map and community dialogue on redlining, and the Kentucky Wired projects recommended in Mayor Fischer’s 2017-18 budget. The ultimate goal of the digital inclusion strategy is to create equity in access to technology and the internet for all Louisvillians.
The city’s Digital Inclusion Strategy, which was released today, can be found at http://digitalinclusion.louisvilleky.gov.
“The Gigabit Experience Center is the most recent step of many promoting equitable access to technology and the internet in Louisville,” said Grace Simrall, Chief of Civic Innovation for Louisville Metro. “We are excited to have gigabit access publicly -available in Russell and encourage the community to come to LCCC to experience this amazing space and gigabit speeds.”
Meanwhile, Louisville Metro’s efforts to extend super-fast internet access were boosted last month with Google Fiber’s preparations to begin construction in the city.
The Gigabit Experience Center was made possible through support from the PNC Foundation, Next Century Cities, Living Cities and the Louisville Metropolitan Housing Authority.
“Next Century Cities is proud to support the city of Louisville and Mayor Fischer as they open the Gigabit Experience Center,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “The Center will provide the resources, training, and internet access that Louisvillians need. It will help to build the city’s technology ecosystem and arm residents with the digital skills necessary for full participation in the 21st Century economy.”