We are celebrating the arrival of our new Executive Director, David A. Bray, who is already fully engaged finding potential opportunities for PCI to make a difference in access to and use of the Internet. We are actively looking to find funding to assist in the recovery of identifying documents for people who lost their homes and vital papers in the Northern California fires, especially in Sonoma. The idea is to set up locations, literally pop-up tents equipped with power, communication, computing facilities and staffed by volunteers to help victims recover their identities to assist them in obtaining insurance coverage and medical prescriptions in addition to driver’s licenses and to replace other important documents that may have been lost in the fires. Our primary point of contact for this work is Marti Grimminck, founder and CEO of International Connector who has started a program called Innovative Resilience to create the “hubs” where residents can get assistance.
We are also working with the Tribal Digital Village in the San Diego area to help them improve the infrastructure they use to deliver Internet service via the Tribal Digital Village Network (TDVNET). Our primary point of contact is Matthew Rantanen, a Native American engineer and spark plug behind this effort. This system takes advantage of the UC San Diego High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network developed by Hans-Werner Braun, the former CTO of MERIT, the organization that managed the NSFNET in the 1985-95 period. We have also engaged with Executive Director Robert Freling at the Solar Electric Light Fund to assess the potential for improved solar power support and with Steven Huter, Executive Director of the Network Startup Resources Center at the University of Oregon to organize a training program to prepare local Native American engineers and other volunteers to assist with upgrading of the TDVNET system.
We are also looking to work on assisting with recovery in Puerto Rico, specifically working with the Medical Reserve Corps, through contacts developed by our own Mei Lin Fung, who is a volunteer in this organization.
So, as you can see, there is a lot going on these days at PCI and we are looking forward to successful execution of additional projects as resources become available.