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Community Initiative: Advancing Digital Inclusion

 

The Dallas Fed is working with several communities in our region to better understand the barriers they face in expanding access to broadband. We’re helping them find cost-effective, long-term solutions to permanently close the digital divide.

Our goals are for each community to achieve a sustainable strategy for connecting all residents to the internet and to share lessons learned to help advance digital inclusion across the region and nation.

Community Partnerships

Ector County, Texas: ConnEctor Task Force, in the Odessa area, includes leaders from education, health care, business and nonprofits. It has explored innovative solutions such as partnering with SpaceX to bring satellite internet to households that lack infrastructure for traditional broadband connection.

El Paso County, Texas: Digital El Paso includes representation from county government, local economic development, education organizations and tech companies. It is focusing on a comprehensive strategic plan for broadband projects in underserved school districts and neighborhoods.

Dallas: The South Dallas Employment Project is addressing digital inclusion as part of its strategy to support individuals who are returning to the workforce or upskilling. The coalition has partner members from throughout the Dallas community including the local city and county governments and school district. (Learn more about the digital divide in Dallas and the South Dallas neighborhood.)

Doña Ana County, New Mexico: Doña Ana Broadband includes partners from the county, City of Las Cruces, and economic development and education organizations. It focuses on increasing access to affordable, efficient broadband throughout the county, especially in underserved communities.


What We’re Doing

Our partners are digital inclusion coalitions that serve diverse communities in urban and rural areas. To build local leadership capacity, the Dallas Fed is assisting with convening stakeholders and providing training to help the partnerships work together effectively. A technical consultant is helping each group assess community needs, infrastructure and other factors, and analyze business models and financial considerations.

Key Challenges

Barriers to digital inclusion are often complex, and they vary from place to place. Lack of broadband infrastructure and affordability of internet service are common challenges. Other factors that affect many households and individuals include the need for devices to connect with broadband service and the lack of knowledge and skills to use the internet.

Collaborative Approach

To understand and address local challenges, collaboration across the community is essential. Business leaders, bankers, educators, service providers, nonprofits, public officials and philanthropy can all play a role. When all sectors and residents come to the table, they can create a plan for digital inclusion that will fit their local community and have a lasting impact.

Digital InclusionCRANeighborhood RevitalizationWorkforce Development

Digital Inclusion
Digital Inclusion
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