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Big Gig Austin
Community Involvement Report

South by Southwest Interactive 2010

Photo credit: Aaron Haley. Used under Creative Commons license.

Every year for one long weekend, Austin becomes the center of the digital universe.

The South by Southwest Interactive Festival 2010 was held in Austin on March 12 - 16, right in the middle of the RFI period.

Attendance for the interactive portion of the festival increased a walloping 33% over last year, with 14,000 registrants.

The local Austin community turned out strongly for SXSW this year. The "Fiber for Communities" initiative was a topic of widespread conversation. The festival became a rallying point for the local "Big Gig Austin" effort.

Some of the activities that occurred during the festival were:

Trade Show

The City of Austin provided space for "Big Gig Austin" in their booth on the trade show floor. Large display boards were hung in the booth. Over 1,200 handbills were distributed to visitors to the booth.


photo of 'Big Gig Austin' posters

Over a hundred "Big Gig Austin" posters were placed around the Austin Convention Center. Volunteers also made contact with local businesses in a 25 square block area around the convention center to hang signs in storefronts. The posters highlighted the "Google starts here" slogan, and included a QR Code that linked smartphone users to the web site.

Dewey Awards

photo of Dewey Winburne, SXSW Interactive founder

The Dewey Winburne Community Service Award is named in memory of SXSW Interactive founder Dewey Winburne, and recognizes ten Austin-area leaders that use technology in ways to benefit the local community. The award ceremony happens annually, during SXSW. The "Big Gig Austin" founders were present that night, and helped do outreach to an enthusiastic and supportive community.

Broadband Policy Sessions

Local "Big Gig" supporters attended two broadband policy sessions during the conference: Our Digital Future: The National Broadband Plan And You and FCC Broadband Plan: Apps, Innovation and Inclusion.

Supporter Interviews

Dozens of "Big Gig" supporters were interviewed to explain why they support gigabit broadband and what they would do with it. (See Videos.)

Happy Hour

"Big Gig Austin" supporters attended the "AustinGO" happy hour. (See Meetups.)