Next Century Cities and the National League of Cities are proud to announce a new Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards program, created in partnership with Google Fiber. These awards will celebrate city governments who are leading programs or empowering community-based organizations to tackle barriers to Internet adoption.

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. Whether cities are leading or partnering on programs, city governments have a major role to play in getting residents the digital access and resources they need.

The Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards will feature two categories. Two winners will be chosen in each category based on their program’s ability to engage the community by providing digital training, Internet access and hardware at a reasonable cost to a diverse range of participants; an additional entrant in each category will be recognized for a uniquely innovative approach to bridging the digital divide. Award categories include:

  • Leader in Digital Inclusion Best Practices: this award will recognize existing programs with over a year of work in addressing the digital divide.
  • Most Promising New Plan: this award will recognize particularly promising new programs for ensuring digital inclusion in a community.

On August 6 at 1:00pm ET, Next Century Cities and the National League of Cities will be hosting a public webinar to share digital inclusion best practices and offer details of the award application process. Information about the webinar and the awards program can be found on the Next Century Cities website at

For more great information on digital inclusion and how cities can bridge the digital divide, we’re proud to share resources from Denise Linn of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, including both a one-pager with an overview of best practices by city governments, and a comprehensive data-driven strategy for digital inclusion in gigabit cities. You can also find these great tools on our Resources page!