On Charlotte: “Now, more than ever, home Internet service is essential to the everyday lives of American families. This includes everything from applying for jobs and getting health information, to keeping up on the world around them and learning new things.”
On Next Century Cities: “Broadband is fundamental to the infrastructures of modern economies. It is critical for cities to collaborate, share knowledge and assist each other in developing broadband networks to improve the lives of all of their residents.”
What Charlotte is working on: In 2015 the City of Charlotte began working with numerous community partners to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for bridging the digital divide in Charlotte. The vision for this plan is for every Charlotte resident to have the opportunity to be fully engaged in 21st Century opportunities. Developing a digital inclusion strategic plan provides an opportunity for Charlotte to collaborate on setting goals, inventory existing digital resources, identify gaps in services and develop a road map toward achieving digital inclusion. This effort requires a long-term commitment with multiple sectors working together including local government, community organizations, businesses, education and learning institutions, the faith community, foundations, healthcare and residents. Over 95+ partners have been engaged in envisioning a connected Charlotte. Together we brainstorm about affordable, home Internet connection providing high-speed access for under $10/month so no one is left behind. We explore wi-fi hot-spot lending programs that make digital resources available to low income families. Our partners are collaborating to make digital resources more accessible, such as the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools ‘One Access’ initiative that unlocks online public library resources for over 145,000 local school children and their families from anywhere, anytime there is internet access. Our public school system is putting Chromebooks into the hands of students to create lifelong learners who can think critically, collaborate and create. With our partners we are creating a playbook that individuals, families, non-profits, and others can draw from to create a plan and options that will work for them and their communities. We have invited our community partners to join the cause as we seek to co-create options for digital inclusion for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Visit digitalcharlotte.org for more information.