Bridging the Digital Divide Through Community Planning

The Digital Divide is the economic, educational, and social inequalities between those who have computers and internet access and those who do not. In the modern world, access to internet service is critical for people to conduct most areas of life and to ensure community economic development. Communities without robust access to computing and internet service experience roadblocks in education, healthcare, economic growth, and more. Both public and private entities such as state and local governments, anchor institutions (i.e. education, healthcare), community-based organizations, private companies, non-profits, and civic organizations play important roles in bridging this Digital Divide.

Attendees will learn to identify multidisciplinary approaches to identify the Digital Divide in their communities and support and develop efforts to increase access to broadband internet. Through a mixture of lecture and case studies, students will be able to: 

  • Understand technical definitions of broadband internet service and technologies
  • Develop a data-based assessment of internet access and adoption gaps in their community
  • Identify Federal and State programs that support universal service and broadband internet access and adoption
  • Identify potential partners and programs to reduce the Digital Divide, including public and private entities as well as other organizations, agencies, interest groups and coalitions
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