Bridging the Digital Divide: Equality in the Information Age

hero digital divide
2000

The Spectrum-Cleveland City Council Neighborhood Technology Fund founded to promote the use of telecommunications and computer equipment and services for residents of the City of Cleveland.

2003

Skype founded.

OneCleveland is founded and has a focus on connecting businesses

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2004

Facebook founded.

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2005

Intel announcel that Cleveland and Northeast Ohio is one of its first three pilot Digital Communities around the world as part of an initiative aimed at helping communities use wireless technology and innovative applications to expand and improve services for constituents.

digital divide
2006

OneCleveland name changed to OneCommunity.

2007

AT&T successfully lobbied state lawmakers in 2007 to allow it to compete with cable companies, which at the time had exclusive rights for services in cities.

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2008

AT&T introduced its new wave of fiber broadband technology, but skipped neighborhoods due to digital redlining AT&T denies they say they invest due to capacity and demand for our services.

AT&T has since made additional investments in the city, including adding fiber cables on poles in some of the poorest neighborhoods, but the WiFi still equates to what a wealthy suburban neighborhood would have gotten in 2005 (6 megabits or less).

2009

Federal stimulus funding received to expand the broadband footprint and launch Connect Your Community.

2010

$44.8 million goes to OneCommunity from $118 million in federal stimulus money to Ohio to expand broadband access and to build a fiber optic network that might entice 21st century businesses.

Connect your Community founded.

Cleveland public libraries start to quadruple the number of computers available and increase WiFi capacity.

2012

Connect Your Community’s 2 year program ended

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2014

Sale of OneCommunity Broadband assets to Everstream.

2015

FCC classified broadband as a telecommunications service of its Open Internet Order.

Sep 2015 - OneCommunity receives $50 million private investment.

DigitalC is incorporated as new non-profit corporation and it's focus is on residents.

City Council President Kevin Kelley puts in Free Wifi hotspots in Old Brooklyn connects 90% of the community.

2016

FCC classified broadband as a information service of its Open Internet Order.

Launch of Connect the Unconnected Initiative.

The city has spent more than $3.2 million through the end of 2016, and the city anticipates spending about $36 million over the course of the consent decree.

AT&T: Census map shows that low income neighborhoods denied installment of medium and high speed internet.

2017

113,746 (out of the total 537,621) households, or 21% of the population in Cuyahoga County lacked internet access of any type.

About 31% of the entire City of Cleveland also lacked internet access.

Launch of ReStart Program.

DigitalC partners with housing authorities in Cleveland -- broadband is sent from antennas placed atop

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2018

DigitalC completed its pilot project called Connect the Unconnected, providing devices and Internet access to over 500 households.

Cleveland is the fourth-worst-connected city in the nation, according to U.S. Census data and a 2018 study.

Cleveland libraries partnered with the Cleveland Foundation and Huntington Bank to purchase 1000 hotspots available for check out.

2019

ReStart Program report (Survey Results on the Outcome of Digital C’s Basic Digital Literacy Training Program) is published by Connected Insights

Cleveland ranks worst BIG city in the United States (drops from #3 slot).

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2020

COVID Pandemic, CMSD schools and City of Cleveland closes down

Spectrum offers two months free Internet to students.

August 24 - CMSD Schools open for new school year, but remote and hyrbid learning

27,000 laptops and tablets and about 13,500 temporary WiFi hotspots (for a school district with an enrollment of about 40,000 students) from CMSD.

digital divide
city scape cleveland
digital divide map project

EYEJ Youth Council’s Focus on the Digital Divide

The EYEJ Youth Council’s focus shifted to closing the Digital Divide once COVID and lockdowns began in March 2020 turning the existing problem of digital exclusion into a catastrophe of lost education and opportunity for Cleveland’s most vulnerable. They felt that it was imperative to continue to empower youth and their lack of internet access along with Cleveland being named the worst connected big city in the United States.

Through growth in the Council, the group decided to split into two sections: A core group focused on social policy, research, programming, and community organizing -members on youth voice, social media, and merchandise. The impact of their work has been dynamic from policy work, phone zaps, town halls, partnering in events, to letter-writing campaigns and developing new digital literacy programming.

The EYEJ Youth Council crafts strong messaging, action solution steps, showcases the urgency of this issue and implementing solutions to help empower our youth.

yodj summary
yodj summary