The digital divide has a local impact and often requires local problem-solving. As a result, time and resources are often assigned to immediate challenges. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, little time remains for local leaders to brainstorm and imagine new ways to bring broadband within reach for every resident. 

In Fort Collins, CO, however, thinking about how broadband could impact shared community goals in the distant future is an immediate priority. The Futures Committee hosts a monthly meeting to help City Councilmembers in their decision-making process on how current issues can be addressed. These meetings are a platform for local leadership to brainstorm how solutions proposed could improve quality of life for Fort Collins’ residents based on known fiscal, social, and environmental data. 

On September 14, 2020, Next Century Cities’ Executive Director, Francella Ochillo, made a presentation in this month’s think tank session, Pragmatic & Visionary Approaches to Digital Inclusion. Mayor Wade Troxell moderated the conversation about how incorporating digital equity and inclusion strategies into the city’s long-term broadband deployment strategies could change socioeconomic outcomes for residents. City council members also brainstormed ideas about interagency collaborations that would help improve broadband adoption rates.

This is a great example of how Next Century Cities’ member municipalities are closing gaps in broadband access. Review the recording here