Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Help the city address the digital divide

Plan on spending 8:30 am - 12:30 pm on February 26 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for DC's first-ever Community Broadband Summit (DC-CBS).   At the Reagan Building, you will join area residents, businesses, community-based organizations, and thought leaders to address the city's digital divide.

According to third annual Speed Matters survey of Internet speeds by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the District ranks 10 out of 53 (the states plus DC, Puerto Rico, and USVI) in the organization's download speed list.   Not so surprising is the breakdown by zip code of download speeds in the CWA DC report.

Certainly, the digital divide is not all about speed.   So what is it about, then?   The most simple definition is this:   The term digital divide refers to the gap between those who have access to electronic and information technology and those who do not.   It is sometimes couched as an urban versus rural dispartity or socio-economic level difference.

You don't have to be a tech expert to contribute to this event.   In fact, some of the sponsors of the event (DC Public Library, Department of Parks and Recreation, and Department of Employment Services) are not experts in technology.   Your participation is needed precisely because the city is interested in increasing all parts of digital literacy -- from ensuring all residents have equal access to the Internet to making sure that computer training and affordable hardware is widely available and affordable.

So be sure to take the short survey and register for this free event.

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