National League of Cities and Next Century Cities Partner with Google Fiber to Recognize Cities Helping to Close the Digital Divide
WASHINGTON—Today the National League of Cities (NLC) and Next Century Cities (NCC), in partnership with Google Fiber, announced a new program to celebrate city-led efforts to bridge the digital divide. The first-ever "Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards" will recognize city governments who are leading successful approaches to tackle barriers to internet adoption. Winners will be announced November 6 at NLC's Congress of Cities and Exposition in Nashville, Tenn. NLC and NCC will host a free webinar August 6 at 1 p.m. EDT to share digital inclusion best practices and provide details of the application process.
"Internet access is no longer a luxury; it is a necessary tool for participation in the opportunities of our communities and our economy," said National League of Cities President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah. "The Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards will recognize the critical work city leaders and their community-based partners are doing to get more residents the digital access and resources they need."
"If we are to fully realize the potential of high-quality broadband networks, we need to ensure that the benefits of broadband are shared by all," said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. "Through the Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards, we hope to celebrate cities that are addressing this need head-on, and encourage others to do the same."
The awards program includes two categories: Leader in Digital Inclusion Best Practices and Most Promising New Plan. Two cities will be selected as winners in each category based on their ability to provide training, access and hardware to a diverse range of residents, at low cost, with proven results. An additional winner in each category will receive recognition for a particularly innovative approach.
Around 25 percent of US households — approximately 60 million Americans — do not have Internet in their homes. Families affected by the digital divide, many of whom are from lower-income neighborhoods, are at a disadvantage when it comes to educational opportunities, applying for jobs or staying in touch with loved ones.
Whether cities are leading or partnering on digital inclusion initiatives, municipal leaders have an important role to play in addressing these inequities. Through this partnership with Google Fiber, NLC and NCC seek to encourage leaders in the public sector to get involved in digital inclusion by highlighting and sharing best practices.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org