WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A contest to develop online applications that would tap the power of broadband to help communities and citizens was launched recently by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission.

The Knight/FCC “Apps for Inclusion” Challenge encourages technology innovators to review government and community services and develop tools that will improve lives by making it easier for citizens to receive these services through mobile and online applications.

Knight Foundation and the FCC announced the contest on March 9, 2010 at America’s Digital Inclusion Summit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. At the same event, the FCC also presented working recommendations in its pending National Broadband Plan for expanding broadband access for all Americans.

“This contest reflects on three beliefs that are key to our work at Knight Foundation,” said its president and CEO, Alberto Ibargüen: “First, our ideal of informed, engaged communities; second, our conviction that universal broadband is key to achieving this ideal; and third, our deep interest in using new approaches to connect with innovators.”

“We are pleased to embrace a contest that will so clearly demonstrate the power of broadband innovation to benefit individuals and society,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “This contest is not just a fun way to reward the creative spirit of American entrepreneurs. It also demonstrates that our National Broadband Plan is a team effort, and puts a critical part of that team — American inventors — to work now implementing core goals of the Plan.”

A panel of experts will review applications and pick winners. The public will have a vote through several “people’s choice awards.” Knight Foundation will commit $100,000 in prize money.

Knight Foundation will announce further details about the contest in the near future.