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Enhancing broadband to close the digital divide

Reliable internet access is necessary to work, learn, and conduct business, a need only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital equity efforts seek to ensure everyone has the same access and opportunities to the information technology needed for full participation in society, democracy, and the economy. The focus is on bridging the affordability of internet service and devices, building skills to use programs and equipment, increasing trust, and overcoming language or other barriers that keep individuals from fully participating.

Three Commission staff members recently attended a two-day workshop hosted by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI), in partnership with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and the Institute for Local Self Reliance, to learn key concepts and strategies for developing local and regional digital equity plans.

The sessions specifically targeted regional planning agencies and municipal stakeholders to build capacity for digital equity and inclusion planning.

The Cape Cod Regional Policy Plan and Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, among other regional plans, identify the need for expanded broadband capabilities in the region. Developing digital equity plans will support eligibility for Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds to pay for infrastructure upgrades and tackle digital equity issues in our region.

The Cape Cod Commission has been selected as a digital equity planning provider for the Cape’s 15 communities under MBI’s Municipal Digital Equity Planning Program. This project is being funded by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at the MassTech Collaborative under the Municipal Digital Equity Planning Program. Funding was provided by Massachusetts ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Funds. Through this program, the Commission will work with regional stakeholders to identify the community's needs to drive investment and activities to broaden internet access and usage.





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