Austin, TX named Digital Inclusion Trailblazer

Austin has been named a 2022 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. So, what does that mean?

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance is a nonprofit organization that advocates for equality in public broadband access, local technology training, and tech support. Every year the organization lists cities, also known as “Trailblazers,” that are excelling in digital inclusion.

City of Austin officials released a press release to share the news, and are excited that the Capital City is included in the list of Trailblazers. The city looks forward to providing equal digital access to all community members.

“One of the city’s goals is to empower all Austin residents with affordable and reliable internet service and the skills to take advantage of it,” said Rondella Hawkins, the City of Austin’s telecommunications and regulatory affairs officer. “It can open a world of new services from finding a job to working from home, family video calls, school work, telemedicine, ending social isolation, and many other uses.”

Trailblazers are judged on the following criteria:

  • Full-time local government staff focused on digital equity
  • A digital inclusion plan
  • An open-access coalition
  • Survey research
  • Funded digital inclusion programming
  • Efforts to increase affordability of home broadband service

The City of Austin scored in five of the six categories, which included:

Staff

Digital inclusion plan

Coalition

Survey research

Funding

The Austin City Council approved its first Digital Inclusion Strategic Plan in 2014. The vision included the Austin community having an opportunity to be fully engaged in the digital society.

Digital equity + inclusion continue to be areas of focus for the city. Work on an updated Digital Inclusion Strategic Plan is also currently underway.

Other Digital Inclusion Trailblazers in Texas include Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

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