Summer 2004

On Behalf of the Seattle Organizing Committee
Welcome to Seattle
by David Keyes and Rhonda Evans and Mike Donlin

This year's CTCNet Conference in Seattle, Washington, brings us to the frontier of technology and strong community access.

Seattle Community Computer Access and Training Sites
Washington State is famous for apples, airplanes, salmon, scenic wilderness, logging, and software. The same frontier spirit that promotes and protects these assets may have also led to its deep immersion in community technology including public access TV, community networks, media arts, computer tech centers, leading library access, community Wi-Fi, and even community voice mail. On the business front Real Networks, Microsoft, Adobe and many more have homes here. Seattle is home to the University of Washington, the northwest stop on Internet2. The foundation community, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been a strong supporter of technology literacy and integration efforts for libraries, schools, rural and urban areas. Nearby Tacoma features the Click! Network, the municipally owned cable and broadband utility.

The Jack Straw Foundation started as KRAB community radio in 1962 and now offers community audio access and training, including audio editing for visually impaired users. Public access TV centers in Seattle (now SCAN) and Olympia (TCTV started in 1982) have long been centers of community technology, and 911 Media Arts continues to pave the way for new media artists. The national Community Voice Mail began service in 1992. By 1996 Washington State had three community Free-Net networks: the Columbia Free-Net, the Inland Northwest Community Access Network (TINCAN), and the Seattle Community Network. All are still doing vital work, reaching urban and rural users with services including TINCAN's on-line Business Incubator. The WTO launched the worldwide community. Now leads a growing metropolitan community wireless network.

The City of Seattle's tech map lists over 160 community access points in and around the metropolitan area. There's a strong belief here in investing in diverse community-driven CTCs. Neighborhood Networks' development in the housing community grew up here, with Washington State's Digital Promise leading the way. Now the Puget Sound Alliance for Community Technology (PSACT) brings together CTCs and supporters to improve service delivery. Npower started here and continues to assist non-profits, while One Northwest serves the environmental movement, Digital Partners works worldwide, and Project Alchemy supports progressive applications of technology.

The City of Seattle provided public bulletin board access in 1995 and public Internet terminals a few years later. Seattle was the first in the nation to establish a community technology planner position, Technology Matching Fund and IT indicators. CTCs in the area receive strong support from the Seattle Public Schools, which has been involved in community technology since 1996 and is leading the way to a more systemic and systematic approach to connecting K-12 education and community technology efforts.

Community technology leaders from Washington state made significant contributions in planning the 2004 CTCNet Conference, as CTCNet engaged a local host committee including representatives from the City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, PSACT, the Seattle Public Library, the RECA Foundation, the Inland Northwest Community Access Network (TINCAN), the Seattle Art Museum, and others, and the host committee is pleased to welcome the 2004 CTCNet Conference to Seattle!

David Keyes directs the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology and is a CTCNet Board Member. Rhonda Evans of the RECA Foundation and Mike Donlin of the Seattle Public Schools also contributed to this piece.

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