Saturday, May 08, 2010

How Cleveland scored a high-tech win, while St. Louis County flopped

Kevin Killeen and Kelly Hatmaker Reporting

As KMOX has been reporting, the St. Louis region fell on its face, trying to set up a high-speed, broadband network that was promoted by County Executive Charles Dooley as the way to attract new businesses and jobs.

While the St. Louis effort failed, the city of Cleveland, Ohio attempted a similar high-tech dream and succeeded.

What did Cleveland do right, that the St. Louis region did wrong?

Established in 2004, Cleveland's OneCommunity Network has created 3,000-to-5,000 new jobs and lured new companies to town, organizers claim. It now provides high-speed broadband service for some 1.6 million customers. The not-for-profit company running the network claims it has even saved lives.

A similar wifi network proposed by County Executive Charlie Dooley in 2006 has now been abandoned as too complicated and too controversial. One of the few wifi vendors to step forward here was a charismatic salesman who promised local communities wifi service that never materialized. Timothy Huff has since pleaded guilty to securities and wire fraud in Florida.

The local wifi effort also involved the St. Louis Regional Exchange, set up by Dooley's longtime political advisor John Temporiti. It was intended to safeguard and develop local internet resources. But the Exchange is under fire for having a small, politically-connected board that never filed the IRS paperwork to become a not-for-profit, and has never publicly disclosed exactly how much money it raised, where it was banked or how it was spent.

Unfamiliar with the wifi debacle in his home town, St. Louis native Charles Berry of Ladue is the Chief Operating Officer of Cleveland's OneCommunity. He talked with KMOX about how Cleveland got it right.


There is much more to this article at:

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:50 PM

    Hey, stop being so mean to Charlie, after all, he is getting our garbage hauled, and he recently won a $7 million dollar grant to send us all a note to quite smoking.

    We are just a low tech kinda place.

    Thanks Charlie for all you do.