Today, Next Century Cities and Google Fiber announced the 2017 Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards program. These awards will celebrate city governments who are leading programs or empowering community-based organizations to tackle barriers to Internet adoption.

All award applications will be due February 10, 2017 and winners will be announced Spring 2017. You can find the application and learn more about previous winners and the awards program here.

Around 15 percent of US households—or approximately 50 million Americans—don’t have internet in their homes. Families affected by the digital divide, many of whom are from lower income neighborhoods, are at a disadvantage when it comes to doing homework, applying for jobs or staying in touch with loved ones. Whether cities are leading or partnering on programs, city governments have a major role to play in getting residents the digital access and resources they need.

The Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards will feature two categories. Two winners will be chosen in each category based on their program’s ability to engage the community by providing digital training, internet access, and hardware at a reasonable cost to a diverse range of participants; an additional entrant in each category will be recognized for a uniquely innovative approach to bridging the digital divide. Award categories include:

  • Leader in Digital Inclusion Best Practices: this award will recognize existing programs with over a year of work in addressing the digital divide.
  • Most Promising New Plan: this award will recognize particularly promising new programs for ensuring digital inclusion in a community.

On December 13, 2016 at 3:00pm ET, Next Century Cities will be hosting a public webinar to share digital inclusion best practices and offer details of the award application process.

Previous winners from the inaugural 2015 Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards and more information on their impressive projects can be found in the links below, or on the award webpage.