Digital C

Content tagged with "Digital C "

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IN OUR VIEW: ‘Without Political Power, There is No Path to Digital Equity’

For decades, ILSR has recognized that communities need to be engaged on Internet access issues to make sure that everyone – from low-income, historically marginalized residents to small businesses and even municipal departments – have the Internet access they need to thrive in the digital age.

Digital equity is essential to help resolve other challenges and the current chasm between the haves and have-nots makes solving many other challenges – like education – more difficult.

To further the quest for greater digital inclusivity, recently ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative Director Christopher Mitchell put together a panel for Net Inclusion 2024, a conference convened by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) that drew 1300 attendees and was by far the largest digital inclusion conference held in many years of doing this work.

Entitled “Without Political Power, There is No Path to Digital Equity,” the panel was originally going to focus on the importance of structural change – and how we cannot ensure everyone is connected by relying solely on the networks already present in neighborhoods that see quite low broadband penetration. Instead, the panel discussion went a bit deeper than that and landed on an observation often made by Joshua Edmonds from Digital C in Cleveland. To paraphrase Joshua, we cannot coupon our way to digital equity.

People Over Profit: DigitalC's Mission to Connect Communities in Cleveland- Episode 589 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined again by Joshua Edmonds, the Chief Executive Officer of DigitalC, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to bridging the digital divide in Cleveland, Ohio. DigitalC achieves this by offering fast and affordable internet access through a fixed wireless network, priced at $18 per month, to underserved neighborhoods. Additionally, they provide digital equity programs such as digital literacy training and device deployment.

Christopher and Joshua discuss recent updates, including DigitalC's successful bid for a $20 million contract from the city of Cleveland to establish a citywide infrastructure. Joshua details the plan to connect over 23,000 households within 18 months, expanding their network with commercial fiber infrastructure to link homes and businesses.

While DigitalC continues generating revenue to support digital equity programs, the conversation concludes with Chris and Joshua emphasizing the importance of prioritizing people over profit. They emphasize the need to serve the unserved and underserved populations and comprehensively address the digital divide.

This show is 38 minutes long and can be played on this page or using the podcast app of your choice with this feed.

Transcript below.

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show: please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or see other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Cleveland's Two-Pronged Attack To Make ‘Worse-Connected City’ Label A Relic Of The Past

Cleveland, Ohio is putting the finishing touches on an ambitious plan to build a citywide open access fiber network–and deliver affordable fixed wireless service–at minimal cost to city residents. The double-edged proposal aims to bring both meaningful broadband competition–and lower rates–to the long neglected city of 1.7 million people.

Last month, the city announced it had awarded $20 million in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds to Cleveland-based digital equity non-profit DigitalC. Under the proposal, DigitalC will spend 18 months building a fixed wireless broadband network capable of providing locals with symmetrical 100 Megabit per second (Mbps) service for $18 a month.

DigitalC’s fixed wireless service, EmpowerCLE+, launched in 2018 and accelerated its deployment in 2020 to meet the needs of frustrated parents and workers during peak COVID.

Speaking at ILSR’s and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) Building for Digital Equity (B4DE) event last week, DigitalC CEO Joshua Edmonds noted that the EmpowerCLE+ network currently passes 23,500 households in Cleveland, with 2,300 current subscribers. The city’s new agreement with the city should expand the network’s potential reach to 99.9% of homes in Cleveland.

Joshua Edmonds on B4DE

“We're thankful for the opportunity and we're just really hoping that people use this as motivation to change things within their respective markets,” Edmonds told ILSR in a phone interview.

Building for Digital Equity Event Encore

If you missed today’s Building for Digital Equity (#B4DE) livestream event"Building Connected Communities: Sustaining the Momentum" – no sweat.

You can still see the entire program below. The latest installment of #B4DE was packed with practical information and inspiration on everything from the latest on the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), outreach to veterans, telehealth and broadband adoption – mixed with on-the-ground intel from local communities pushing the digital equity movement forward.

B4DE event screenshot

Co-hosted by ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), the event was capped off by keynote speaker and emerging digital equity leader Joshua Edmonds, CEO of Digital C in Cleveland, who painted a powerful and expansive vision of digital equity work based on insights that have emerged from working in the trenches.

The entire #B4DE live stream, sponsored once again by UTOPIA Fiber, can be seen below. And, for other Digital Inclusion Week (DIW) engagements check out NDIA’s page here.

Next B4DE Event This Tuesday: Building Connected Communities, Sustaining Momentum

Lots happening for Digital Inclusion Week 2023, which kicks off this Monday. One free online event that will be of particular interest for digital equity advocates across the nation is the next National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) Building for Digital Equity (#B4DE) Livestream.

The popular virtual gathering will be held this Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 12 noon to 1:15 pm ET and will focus on the DIW-inspired theme: Building Connected Communities: Sustaining Momentum.

Attendees can still register here.

Building on the success of our previous events, we are excited to present another engaging agenda packed with practical insights and information digital inclusion practitioners can use while working in the trenches to bridge America’s yawning digital divide.

The agenda includes: