The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) named Philadelphia a 2023 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer, recognizing the City’s efforts to close the digital divide for a fifth year in a row. The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) is an organization connecting over 600 non-profit organizations, policy-makers, and academics to improve access to broadband and achieve digital equity.
NDIA defines digital equity as, “the condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy and economy.”
The pandemic made it obvious just how important digital equity is to participate and thrive in today’s world. But the City of Philadelphia has been advocating for digital equity long before COVID-19. We know access to affordable high-speed internet, devices, and digital skills training is essential for Philadelphians. We recognize the ongoing needs of our community, therefore Philadelphia’s Digital Equity team didn’t begin or end efforts because of a pandemic.
This year, Philadelphia joins a record number of Digital Inclusion Trailblazers, with 47 total awardees representing municipal, county, and regional governments paving the way for digitally inclusive communities across the US. Trailblazers provide models for other local governments to aspire to as communities build digital inclusion ecosystems.
Philadelphia achieved Trailblazer status by prioritizing digital inclusion for residents of their communities through:
- Funding Digital skills classes for caregivers, immigrants, non-English speakers, and many other residents in need of improving their skills
- Funding and stewarding the Philadelphia Digital Navigator Network that provides one-on-one support to individuals and families
- Partnering with PCs for People to scale device recycling and refurbishing to provide free and low-cost devices to those most in need.
- Launching a robust media campaign and outreach to get qualified residents enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
- Managing the City’s Digital Literacy Alliance and participating in the Technology Learning Collaborative coalition of digital inclusion practitioners
- Directly funding local and innovative digital inclusion programming through the The Digital Literacy Alliance and PHLConnectED
- Releasing our Digital Equity Plan in 2022
NDIA revised the seven-year-old Trailblazer program this year, identifying seven categories of current best practices. Each applicant’s materials are verified for accuracy, assessed for community impact, and posted in an interactive map and searchable database on NDIA’s website. NDIA also introduced a new scoring system with two levels of recognition for Trailblazer awardees. NDIA named 22 of the winners Visionary Digital Inclusion Trailblazers for scoring 18 or more points in the evaluation. Philadelphia was one of those Visionary Trailblazing cities!
Philadelphia is proud to be a leader on Digital Inclusion
The City of Philadelphia knows reliable, affordable internet access is vital for Philadelphians. The City’s efforts have made a significant impact and we will continue to engage Philadelphians by providing training and resources and creating solutions to address digital inequities.
Read Philadelphia’s Digital Equity Plan and learn more about our commitment to closing the digital divide.