On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, the Next Century Cities team met with members of the Philadelphia Digital Literacy Alliance to identify digital literacy success stories and challenges faced by residents across the city. The Alliance is a coalition of institutional stakeholders working to alleviate Philadelphia’s digital divide.
Juliet Fink-Yates of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology offered an in-depth perspective of the state of connectivity and action in Philadelphia. She also gave an overview of the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and how it impacts efforts to advance digital equity in Pennsylvania communities.
In light of upcoming federal and state broadband funding, Next Century Cities urged members to consider best practices in similarly situated communities nationwide and reiterated the importance of identifying quantitative and qualitative data points that could make grant funding applications more competitive. The NCC team also encouraged Alliance members to use NCC platforms to share those stories and tap into the NCC network to network with leaders across the country that might be facing similar challenges and aspirations.
The conversation affirmed the importance of amplifying resident experiences when making broadband policy and infrastructure decisions. Shortly after the meeting, the City of Philadelphia established an executive order and released its 5-Year Digital Equity Plan on February 15, 2022.