GPS and garbage trucks: Mapping digital divides in U.S. cities
By Sarah Wray – Addressing the digital divide has become a top priority for cities around the world as COVID-19 has forced study, work and socializing online.
City leaders are increasingly recognizing the opportunity that remote work and technology can offer their citizens and local economy – as long as the right infrastructure is in place.
During a digital roundtable in a series organized by consulting company Ignite Cities and advocacy group the National League of Cities (NLC), Adrian Perkins, Mayor of Shreveport, and Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, Mayor of National City, detailed how closing the digital divide means not only getting residents connected but also helping them upskill for a changing job market. Perkins said:
“If our low-income communities don’t have access to reliable internet, you are cutting them off in so many ways,” including opportunities for remote work, high-paying jobs and educational tools.
He noted that mayors must work alongside the private sector and foster partnerships to close the divide but that leveraging public assets is also key.
“[Telecom companies] are private corporations and they have pushed for their bottom lines and people that could most afford [connectivity],” Perkins added.
“If you are a mayor that hasn’t started to yet work on the public side, on the public fibre that’s available and pushing your public agenda when it comes to bridging the digital divide, you are behind the power curve.” more>
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