For Immediate Release
Contact: Deb Socia, 617-251-8358
Next Century Cities Announces Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards Winners
Six Communities Across Country Recognized for Proposed or Existing Programs to Bridge Digital Divide
Nashville, Tenn. (November 5, 2015) – At the National League of Cities Congress of Cities event in Nashville, TN, Next Century Cities, the National League of Cities, and Google Fiber announced the six inaugural winners of the new Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards program. These awards celebrate city governments who are leading programs or empowering community-based organizations to tackle barriers to Internet adoption.
“If we are to fully realize the potential of high-quality broadband networks, we need to ensure that the benefits of broadband are shared by all,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “Today’s winners of the first Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards represent a range of approaches that all share a commitment to addressing this important issue.” Around 25 percent of US households, or approximately 60 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.
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, Philadelphia’s KEYSPOT program and Seattle’s Technology Matching Fund program were announced as overall winners, while Davidson, NC’s Eliminate the Digital Divide program received recognition as the most innovative approach. In the Most Promising New Plan category, Austin’s Unlocking the Connection initiative and Chattanooga’s Tech Goes Home CHA program were selected as overall winners, with the most innovative approach prize going to Washington, DC’s Mobile Tech Lab.
More information about both the winning projects and the awards program can be found on the Next Century Cities website at nextcenturycities.org/digital-inclusion-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.