BALTIMORE—Open Society Institute (OSI) founder and philanthropist George Soros has urged Google to choose Baltimore as the field site for the company's planned investment in launching ultra-high speed Internet.
"Google should consider Baltimore for this trial for the same reasons that I selected Baltimore for my philanthropic investment, and as the site of the only field office of the Open Society Institute in the United States," said George Soros. "Baltimore has strong community institutions but still many people who suffer from being disconnected from important resources. The city and its residents would benefit dramatically from enhanced communications infrastructure. An investment in Baltimore is sure to yield positive returns both for Google and for the city."
Soros chose Baltimore as a "test-city" to implement smart solutions and create systemic change with regard to some of the biggest challenges facing urban centers: failing schools, untreated drug addiction, and an over-reliance on incarceration. Since 1998, his foundation, OSI-Baltimore, has invested over $70 million towards solving these complex problems.
"OSI-Baltimore's efforts to develop a trained workforce, keep children and youth engaged in schools and in after-school programs, expand access to addiction treatment, and increase access to public benefits and training would be greatly enhanced through the tools enabled by Google Fiber," said OSI-Baltimore Director Diana Morris. "In addition, we applaud Google's intentions to make this an 'open access network,' which will further promote the principals of net-neutrality and open society values."
"Baltimore is a compelling location for Google's fiber trial," said Tom Loveland, Baltimore's appointed Google Czar. "Baltimore is home to unique, world-class institutions like Johns Hopkins and Hubble Space Telescope, engines of knowledge and innovation that help the world. Baltimore's talent poo—lone of the highest concentrations of scientific and technical professionals in the country and a vibrant creative and entrepreneurial class—already creates next-generation applications. And Baltimore owns and operates its own fiber conduit, simplifying Google's deployment. Adjacent to our nation's capital, Baltimore provides tremendous visibility to major potential users of Google high-speed fiber."
Key organizations with which OSI-Baltimore partners—including the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Schools, universities, medical institutions, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations—are primed to take advantage of the infrastructure Google proposes. With this bandwidth, they would be able to implement innovative programs rapidly and more broadly.
"I am grateful for Mr. Soros's support of Baltimore's effort to attract Google Fiber to Baltimore," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "Mr. Soros understands that Baltimore is a City with a great history of innovation and invention. With our world class institutions, businesses and engaged citizens, we are the best City in America for Google to invest in new high-speed Internet infrastructure. "
OSI-Baltimore was started in 1998 by philanthropist George Soros as a laboratory to better understand and solve the most intractable problems facing urban America. OSI-Baltimore is a private operating foundation that focuses its work exclusively on the root causes of three intertwined problems—drug addiction, an over-reliance on incarceration and the obstacles that keep youth from succeeding inside and outside of the classroom. OSI-Baltimore also sponsors the Baltimore Community Fellows, now over 100 members strong, who work to create opportunity and bring justice to people in the city's most underserved neighborhoods.