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Recent News // Dayton’s Technology Action Plan: Creating a Digital Equitable Community

Friday, August 04, 2017

When it comes to broadband (high-speed internet) access in Dayton, the cost of monthly service is the reason more than 78 percent of families and individuals cite as a barrier to getting online. This is especially concerning when you consider the groups most directly impacted by this—families with school-aged children, active or retired military, and those earning less than $35K a year.

That’s according to data provided in Dayton’s just-released Technology Action Plan. Earlier this year, Dayton leaders decided they needed to understand the access, adoption, and use of the internet among the city’s residents and businesses. So the city partnered with Connected Nation (CN) to leverage the nonprofit’s Connected Community Engagement Program (Connectedsm).

Together, Connected Nation, local leaders, and key stakeholders formed the City of Dayton Broadband Team. That team decided to examine three focus areas: households, business and economic development, and talent/workforce development. It’s taken several months of data collection and work with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) but the team ultimately identified the gaps in coverage and the key demographics of people who are not being connected.

“The findings are troublesome. When you think about what the numbers are telling us—it means those who have served or are currently serving our country don’t have the same access to opportunities as the rest of us,” said Stu Johnson, Executive Director of Connect Ohio, a subsidiary of Connected Nation. “The inability to afford or obtain adequate access means families with children in school cannot access school work online or use the internet to do research projects or access other educational needs for their kids, and it means that the poorest residents in Dayton can’t get online to simply apply for a job or benefits, or even just order goods that are less expensive. There are so many benefits that the internet affords us that to be left out of a digital world is to be left behind on healthcare issues, job options, educational needs, and so much more.”

Connected Nation made eight recommendations (listed on page 44 in the report, linked below) to improve internet access to Dayton residents, businesses, schools, libraries, and other institutions. The Dayton Broadband team identified the following five recommendations as priorities for the area:

1.    Perform a broadband build-out analysis and validate demand for service

2.    Complete a vertical assets inventory

3.    Launch a digital equity initiative

4.    Host website and social media classes for local businesses to help promote economic prosperity among local business

5.    Facilitate digital literacy training in partnership with communication organizations for vulnerable populations

 “We believe everyone belongs in a Connected Nation,” Johnson said. “To not have access means that children, families, small business owners, farmers, and others are being left out of opportunities to improve their lives and livelihoods. All of us at Connected Nation believe that to fix that problem we must first identify the gaps and understand the landscape of a community. We then look for ways to change that landscape and bring access to more people so they have the educational, economic, and social opportunities the digital world provides.”

Click here to read Dayton's entire Technology Action Plan, which includes further data on the broadband landscape of the city.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jessica Denson, Communications Manager
jdenson@connectednation.org
(502) 341-2024

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Connected Nation is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Americans so no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide. The Connected Community Engagement Program works with local communities to identify the challenges and solutions to broadband expansion.

We believe everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.org or follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.