If We Build it, Will They Come? Strategies to Advance High Impact, Digital Inclusion Ecosystems
15 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2023
Date Written: August 7, 2023
Bridging across digital divides to ensure access to the internet is essential for societal participation but is a continuing challenge in many communities. Although financial resources are increasingly being devoted to this issue, the failure to approach the challenge as a complex ecosystem limits the impacts of those funds. This article presents baseline data and two case examples illustrating the elements of an ecosystem approach with local universities – particularly minority serving institutions -- at the center to advancing digital inclusion. In this paper, we examine public policy designed to support universities as anchor institutions to expand broadband access in anchor communities to fulfill the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that established the Broadband Equity, Access and Development (BEAD) and Digital Equity programs and the Consolidated Act of 2021 that established the Connecting Minority Communities program.
Keywords: Digital Inclusion, Digital Equity, Stakeholder Alignment, University-led Initiative, Asset Inventory
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