Facilitators: Bill Callahan, Wanda Davis
Three major takeaways
- Up to 20% of the County’s adult residents and up to 50% of adult Cleveland residents don’t have broadband Internet access in their homes. Government transparency initiatives that rely on online tools will exclude these citizens, unless accompanied by strategic efforts to help them become effective Internet users.
- There are now big, well-funded “Digital Inclusion” campaigns under way led by OneCommunity’s Connect Your Community Project (in Cleveland and East Cleveland) and the County Library and Connect Ohio (in many suburban communities). These campaigns, funded by Federal broadband stimulus grants, are helping thousands of disconnected residents to become broadband users, but they are funded only until Summer/Fall 2012. This is a unique opportunity that the County and transparency advocates need to a) seize while it lasts, and/or b) help to extend beyond 2012 with local resources and partnerships.
- There are experienced, committed nonprofits and libraries already leading the way in this area, and constantly on the lookout for partners. What’s needed is not a specific new initiative, but a general commitment to keep the County’s digital divide and Digital Inclusion on the agenda as we develop and advocate online strategies for transparency and access in this community.
No specific next steps or dates.
- Connect Your Community: http://www.connectcommunity.org
- Cuyahoga County Library: http://cuyahogalibrary.org/ComputerClasses.aspx
- “Broadband Adoption and Use in America,” Federal Communication Commission: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-296442A1.pdf
- Connect Ohio 2011 Consumer Technology Assessment for Cuyahoga County: http://www.connectohio.org/_documents/Technology_Assessment_Cuyahoga_County_2011.pdf