For Immediate Release
Contact: Deb Socia
Six Communities Recognized as Leaders in Digital Inclusion Efforts at
Broadband Communities Summit Event
2017 Digital Inclusion Leadership Award Winners Announced
Dallas, Texas. (May 2, 2017) – At the Broadband Communities event today, Next Century Cities and Google Fiber announced the six winners of the 2017 Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards program.
These awards celebrate city and county governments that are leading programs or empowering community-based organizations to tackle barriers to Internet adoption. The awards are an opportunity to celebrate the cities that are leading community changing programs and encourage public sector leaders to get involved in digital inclusion by sharing best practices.
“Ensuring that all residents are able to benefit from the wide range of available online resources is a high priority for each of our Digital Inclusion Leadership Awardees,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “Though each winner has a unique approach, they all demonstrate that dedicated local elected officials and strong community partnerships are key components of a successful project.”
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-wealth neighborhoods, are at a disadvantage when it comes to doing homework, applying for jobs or staying in touch with loved ones.
“This year, we received strong applications from dozens of city and county governments across the country who have made investing in digital inclusion a priority,” said Google Fiber Community Impact Manager Clarissa Ramon, who represented Fiber at today’s event. “By partnering with Next Century Cities, we have an exciting opportunity to highlight the creative work being done to tackle the digital divide in communities and encourage information sharing.”
The Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards featured two categories, with two overall winners selected in each category, and an additional entrant in each category receiving recognition for an innovative approach. The Leader in Digital Inclusion Best Practices and the Most Promising New Plan awards recognize established and newly-launched or planned programs, respectively.
In the Digital Inclusion Best Practices category, Boston, Massachusetts’ Tech Goes Home program and Raleigh, North Carolina’s Digital Connectors program were announced as overall winners, while Chicago, Illinois and Peer 2 Peer University’s Learning Circles program received recognition as the most innovative approach.
In the Most Promising New Plan category, New York City, New York’s Queensbridge Connected initiative and Riverside County, California’s RivCoconnect program were selected as overall winners, with the most innovative approach prize going to Kansas City, Missouri’s Internet Services and Weatherization Program.
More information about both the winning projects and the awards program can be found on the Next Century Cities website at http://nextcenturycities.org/about/awards-programs/digital-inclusion-leadership-awards/.
Next Century Cities is a city-to-city initiative founded to support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. As innovative municipalities across the country recognize the importance of leveraging gigabit level Internet to attract new businesses and create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities, Next Century Cities will celebrate these successes, demonstrate their value, and help other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband. For more information, visit www.nextcenturycities.org.
Deb Socia, Executive Director, Next Century Cities