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Joan and Irwin Jacobs Provide Support for Expanding Public Wireless Access in Balboa Park

The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation has contributed $100,000 to the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) for its wireless network infrastructure project in Balboa Park.

The funds will be used for the hardware and labor costs involved with building a pervasive public wireless network throughout the central Balboa Park campus where the vast majority of the Park’s museums and other cultural institutions are located. WiFi access will be free for San Diego residents and tourists, enriching their Park experience and connecting them to the Park’s cultural institutions, visitor resources, and each other.

“We see this as a strategic investment to significantly enhance the visitor experience in Balboa Park,” said Dr. Irwin Jacobs, co-founder of Qualcomm Incorporated, pioneer and world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology.

“Since Qualcomm’s founding just over 25 years ago, the mobile phone first used only for voice communications, has become an extraordinarily powerful mobile computer supported by wireless broadband communications -- the largest information platform in the history of humankind,” Dr. Jacobs said. “It’s exciting to think about the applications of mobile technology that can now take place in Balboa Park, our city’s jewel.”

BPOC currently provides public wireless Internet access in six locations in Balboa Park. With the support from the Jacobs Fund, BPOC will continue to build out public wireless hot spots throughout 2011 and 2012, with the intent of having more than 250 access points deployed by fall of 2012. This initiative complements BPOC’s recently completed project to connect 14 buildings in the Park through high-speed fiber optic cable.

“This generous donation from the Jacobs family is an important component to our effort to make Balboa Park a relevant and exciting destination for 21st century visitors,” said Rich Cherry, BPOC director.

“Dr. Jacobs’ example as an entrepreneur, innovator, and philanthropist adds tremendous value to the San Diego region. I am so grateful for Joan and Irwin's support of the local arts community, and particularly in Balboa Park, as we strive to meet the changing expectations of our audiences.”

For more information, please contact:

Maren Dougherty, Senior Editor (619-819-9200 / mdougherty@bpoc.org)