Mayor Vi Lyles
“Access to affordable broadband internet is a critical component of strong vibrant cities. Affordable broadband has become an essential utility, a required component for economic mobility, providing every resident the access to information they need to stay connected and succeed. Paired with technology and digital skills, this access will help propel all our residents and our community to achieve their full potential.”
“Municipal governments across the country are challenged by the rapid rate of change in a technology-driven landscape. We know that the future of civic engagement requires a strong digital platform. The City of Charlotte is committed to ensuring that every resident has access and the ability to engage with city services in our modern democracy. We also know that we are not alone in meeting these challenges and opportunities. By collaborating with other municipalities we can learn best practices from each other, more rapidly harnessing the power of the digital landscape and addressing the digital divide so that no one is left behind.”
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.