Pittsburgh, PA – Next Century Cities, a nonprofit membership organization of over 150 mayors and city leaders dedicated to ensuring access to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband internet, today joined with Google Fiber to announce the Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards program at the National League of Cities’ City Summit in Pittsburgh, PA. The 2017 Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards, first given in 2015, will celebrate city governments who are leading programs or investing in community-based organizations to tackle barriers to internet adoption.
“Approximately 50 million Americans don’t 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 doing homework, applying for jobs or staying in touch with loved ones,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “Whether cities are leading or partnering on programs, city governments have a major role to play in getting residents the digital access and resources they need, and we look forward to celebrating their innovations with the 2017 Digital Inclusion Awards.”
All submissions will be due February 10th and winners will be announced Spring 2017. You can learn more about previous winners and the awards program here.
The 2017 Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards will feature two categories. Two winners will be chosen in each category based on the program's ability to engage the community by providing digital training, internet access, and hardware at a reasonable cost to a diverse range of participants; an additional entrant in each category will be recognized for a uniquely innovative approach to bridging the digital divide. Award categories include:
- Leader in Digital Inclusion Best Practices: this award will recognize existing programs with over a year of work in addressing the digital divide.
- Most Promising New Plan: this award will recognize particularly promising new programs for ensuring digital inclusion in a community.
The winning projects from the inaugural 2015 Digital Inclusion Awards include:
- Philadelphia, PA: KEYSPOT
- Seattle, WA: Technology Matching Fund Program
- Davidson, NC: Eliminate the Digital Divide
- Austin, TX: Unlocking the Connection
- Chattanooga, TN: Tech Goes Home CHA
- Washington, DC: Mobile Tech Lab
On December 13 at 3:00pm ET, Next Century Cities will be hosting a public webinar to share digital inclusion best practices and offer details of the award application process. Information about the webinar and the awards program can be found on the Next Century Cities website at nextcenturycities.org/digital-inclusion-awards/.
Next Century Cities is a city-to-city initiative founded to support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. As innovative municipalities across the country recognize the importance of leveraging gigabit level Internet to attract new businesses and create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities, Next Century Cities will celebrate these successes, demonstrate their value, and help other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband. For more information, visit www.nextcenturycities.org.