POTs and PANs Broadband for All highlights NATOA Awards

Community, Industry, Top Issues,

From Doug Dawson's POTs and PANs July 3rd Blog:

Urban Digital Divide Efforts

NATOA, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) recently made Community Broadband and Digital Equity Awards to three communities and recognized the strides the cities have made in tackling the digital divide.

The City and County of San Francisco got an award for connecting public housing and other vulnerable neighborhoods to the City’s fiber network. The City’s program is seeking to bring free wired gigabit broadband to low-income residents who have been on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Silicon Harlem got an award for bringing affordable broadband and resiliency to small businesses in Harlem.  In partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Silicon Harlem launched RISE, a program that is bringing innovative technologies to small businesses. The RISE effort provides a disaster-resistant wireless mesh network to businesses at no cost. The BetterB program is bringing symmetrical 100 Mbps broadband to small businesses for $30 per month.

An award also went to SA Digital Connects, which is a collaboration between San Antonio and Bexar County. This collaboration has the goal of making sure that every household has safe and secure access to the Internet. SA Digital Connect has created a collaboration across government, public, and private partners and has secured funding for access, infrastructure, affordability, adoption, digital skills, and devices.

I’m highlighting these three awards as a way to talk about the work that is remaining to solve the digital divide. BEAD grants are going to solve a lot of the rural digital divide – although I’m predicting millions of homes will be missed by BEAD.  But the biggest remaining digital divide issue is to find solutions for urban broadband adoption.

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