December 2, 2022

Why Digital Equity?

Digital Equity is necessary for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services.

Local governments across the nation are adopting digital equity strategies and transforming digital accessibility for their communities. Recently, FUSE Executive Fellows leading digital equity projects, Reyda Taylor (Travis County, Texas), Aneta Lee (Birmingham, Alabama), and Joshua Williams (Houston, Texas), discussed the components of a successful digital equity strategy in a sponsored webinar with NextCity.

The FCC has recently released its broadband map that uses a variety of sources to identify where broadband may be available.

If you want to learn more about this mapping initiative and how to use the maps, check out this post about the maps at Pew Trust.

The American Community Survey (ACS) looks at several different topics important to digital equity and access. Here are a few examples of tables that you can start with, but there are many more. You can download this data at different geographic levels (e.g. state, county, census tract).

Several free tools incorporate other data sources, including the ACS data, into their insights. Check these out:

Check out national resources on data and resources related to digital equity and broadband!

Pew Research Center has produced multiple national research projects on broadband and digital equity:

Working with the people you serve to conduct data analysis, collection, or interpretation is important. Here are a few resources to learn more about participatory and collaborative research and evaluation approaches:

National Digital Inclusion Alliance

NTIA Sponsored Websites

Digital Equity Coalitions

SMARTIE Goal: Develop a digital equity goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound, Inclusive, and Equitable.

Data & Mapping:

Collect home internet access data and create, or access, an interactive map that highlights needs for connectivity, opportunities for connectivity, and assets/infrastructure available for connectivity. 

Determine systems needed to maintain the most up-to-date data; systems needed to publish data and mapping regularly for public awareness, and maintain/build partnerships to continue learning best practices for collecting data and mapping.

Affordable Internet:

Explore free and/or low-cost, and decide which internet options are best for your underserved/unserved communities. 

Establish relationships with current free/low-cost internet providers, and identify additional providers/resources.

Digital Inclusion Coalitions:

Partner with public and private partners to build an open-access collaboration that will establish strategic partnerships.

Search for global coalitions to join.


Identify existing and/or potential public-private partnerships that would fund connectivity initiatives.

Build relationships with grant providers and donors.

Establish your own Digital Inclusion Fund. 

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