By Francella Ochillo
Reliable broadband access impacts overall well-being, which makes the need to bring affordable high-speed connectivity within reach for every resident particularly urgent. Local officials, community leadership, philanthropic partners, and academic researchers in the City of Baltimore are working to target persistent barriers to broadband access and adoption. Their partnerships and investments are helping to revitalize communities that continue to be excluded from the digital economy.
On June 28, 2022, Next Century Cities hosted a webinar called Baltimore’s Broadband Movement. The Deutsch Foundation’s amalia deloney highlighted philanthropy’s role in expanding community-based digital infrastructure. Jason Hardebeck, Baltimore’s Director of Broadband and Digital Equity, emphasized Mayor Brandon Scott’s commitment to digital equity. His remarks also provided background on the systemic issues that City officials are working to address. Dr. Colin Rhinesmith, Founder and Director of the Digital Equity Research Center (DERC), shared research findings from his work with the Digital Equity Leadership Lab.
Through William Wells, Executive Director and Founder, aSTEAM Village and Digital KC Now, participants learned about a Kansas City, Missouri, program that is training youth in digitally disadvantaged communities. Additionally, Michell Morton, Broadband Program Specialist and Federal Program Officer at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), presented on federal digital equity grant programs. View the full webinar recording here.
- Deutsch Foundation’s slides are available here.
- Access Dr. Colin Rhinesmith’s presentation on how community leadership can promote digital equity here.
- For information on NTIA’s Digital Equity grant program, review Michell Morton’s slides here.
- Media Highlight: Baltimore Needs Grassroots Help to Bridge Digital Divide, Experts Say (July 5, 2022)