Gina Birch Loves Digital Equity at the Ashbury Center in Cleveland

Building for Digital Equity

On the one hand, Cleveland is one of the worst connected cities in the nation. On the other hand, it’s also a metro region with among the highest Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) enrollment rates.

That’s because of the efforts of digital inclusion practitioners like Gina Burch, Program Coordinator at the Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center. In the second episode of our new Building for Digital Equity podcast, Gina talks about how they trained digital navigators to help enroll eligible Clevelanders into the program that provides a $30/month subsidy for low-income households to pay for home Internet service.

Gina Birch

As a new nationwide campaign to boost ACP enrollment is underway, Gina touches on something that is key for enrolling skeptical would-be beneficiaries: the need for trusted messengers and organizations with roots in the community to be a part of the process.

She also highlights some of the challenges they are seeing on the ground and why having high-speed Internet access, as well as the digital skills necessary to get online, is about so much more than shopping or streaming movies. Gina talks about the link between Internet access and access to health care such as making Covid vaccine appointments.

You can listen to the 14 minute interview below or it can be played using the podcast app of your choice with this feed.

Also, you can listen to other episodes here or check out our long-running Community Broadband Bits podcasts here.