Guest blogger David Broecker
More than 25% of families in rural communities across the United States lack access to broadband services. As more students are forced to learn from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this lack of e-learning connectivity puts these kids behind those that have such access.
This is why the newly created Innovation Partners Institute (IPI) is working with leading broadband innovator Mo Shakouri, from Joint Venture Silicon Valley, to bring private e-learning networks to more than 500 families in the Kankakee Valley community school system.
Founded by myself, Chief Innovation and Collaboration Officer, and Troy Hege, VP Innovation and Technology – both from PRF – the IPI was launched with the purpose of bringing together innovators, corporate partners, students, and faculty with public/private sources of capital to advance solutions to important community problems.
Working with Mo – the first innovation partner – the IPI has brought together leading corporate partners – SBA Communications and Watch Communications – to deliver private CBRS networks for e-learning purposes. Private CBRS networks are an important emerging technology in the build-out of so-called 5G connectivity.
The entire project was brought about through a gift made to the IPI by Jay and Robyn Stead of Auckland, New Zealand, to advance innovation and deliver impact to local communities here in Indiana, emanating out of the Discovery Park District.
Jay is a 1986 graduate of Purdue and successful business executive and innovator. Additional funding was provided by the state of Indiana through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund associated with remote learning. Wabash College served as the grant administrator.
In the span of three short months, the IPI put together more than $1 million in funding and resources as well as an A-team of innovators and companies to solve an important problem in the community. The go-live date for Kankakee Valley is January.
David Broecker is an experienced business executive with a passion and track record for building organizations and creating value by advancing breakthrough innovation to the marketplace. He currently serves as the Chief Innovation and Collaboration Officer for Purdue Research Foundation.
Listen to David on Lakeshore Public Radio’s Regionally Speaking, November 24, 2020: