Report highlights how Seattleites use technology

SEATTLE 5/23 - At a launch event last night, the City of Seattle released new findings on technology access, adoption and interaction by Seattle residents. These findings are based on feedback from 2,600 residents via online and phone surveys and in-person focus groups in multiple languages about their use, concerns, and barriers to using the Internet, social media, cable TV and online government services.

“This data shows that we’re making great strides in technology, but a digital gap still exists between our neighbors,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We’re already using the data in this report to influence how the City of Seattle interacts with our neighbors and to better target our outreach and engagement strategies.”

Every four years the City of Seattle conducts community research to find out how Seattle residents are using technology.The technology adoption study findings were detailed at the interactive launch event, and are available online at www.seattle.gov/tech/indicators. The summary of findings and recommendations are available in multiple languages.

“The continued rise of smart phone and tablet use provides outstanding opportunities for government to reach more residents,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “The information from the focus groups will help us improve services and how we reach all communities. We will take action on improving access to web services by making them available in multiple languages.”

Since 2000, the City’s Community Technology Program has been collecting extensive and statistically valid data on residential use of cable TV, broadband adoption and uses (including health, work, education, finance and civic engagement), barriers to broadband adoption, use of online city services, and customer service needs. The measures used were based on goals for a technology-healthy city developed in collaboration with the City’s volunteer Technology Advisory Board.

Nine focus groups were also conducted to help understand the needs of communities who are often under-represented in the online and phone surveys or may be technologically-underserved.

Findings of the report include:

  • The report finds that 85 percent of Seattle residents have Internet at home and that more residents now own laptops than desktop computers.
  • Since 2009, Seattle has seen mobile phone ownership grow by 11 percent (80 to 89 percent), and has seen a 66 percent growth in the number of residents with smart phones (35 to 58 percent).
  • Broadband and cable TV prices continue to be of concern, but increasing broadband speed is important to those surveyed, with high interest in using higher bandwidth applications.
  • Cable subscribership has dropped 13 percent in the past four years as options for viewing video over the internet have grown.
  • Lower income residents have lower-speed broadband service, though a broad cross section of Seattle residents are interested in using higher speed internet services for activities like medical appointments or taking classes.
  • The study funds that there is still a significant gap in access to internet and the skills to use it, though the digital equity gap is more focused in skills and uses of the internet than on basic access.
  • Email was noted as the preferred way for residents to give their opinion to a community group or the City.
  • Education and age are the most significant factors differentiating technology access and adoption, but the data also shows important differences based on the income, ethnicity, and abilities of those surveyed.
  • The research also found that those with less education tend to make less use of the internet than users with more education.

For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/tech/indicators or contact communitytechnology@seattle.gov or 206-386-9759.

Low-cost Internet options, Comcast special until 3/18

Seattle was recently named 1 of 15 “Gold Medal” communities nationwide by Comcast. As a result, they’re offering six months of free Internet service through their Internet Essentials program, for eligible households who apply and are approved for their $10/month program by March 18, 2014, next Tuesday.  Their low-income discount is for families with students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Comcast is one of several companies in Seattle who offer Internet for low-income residents for around $10/month. They all have income and other eligibility guidelines for the discounted service.  The City of Seattle has more information about these programs and Solid Ground’s program to help residents with the choices on their community technology low cost Internet page.

CenturyLink Internet Basics (866) 541-3330

  • Eligible if on most public assistance programs (broader than Comcast)
  • Internet wired to your home via phone line
  • Laptop purchase available for $150
  • Not eligible if you have existing CenturyLink Internet service
  • Internet safety and education materials offered

Comcast’s Internet Essentials Program (855) 846-8376

  • Must have a child eligible for free or reduced lunch
  • Cable Internet wired to your home
  • Laptop purchase available for $150
  • Not eligible if you have existing Comcast Internet service
  • Internet safety and education materials offered

Interconnection/Mobile Citizen (Clear) (206) 633-1517

  • Offers Clear mobile Internet for $8 per month with laptop purchase or about $10 per month without laptop purchase
  • Eligible if on most public assistance programs
  • Refurbished  laptops with a full range of software for $99
  • They have a store in Seattle offering products and assistance

Looking for a computer to use or for computer training? Visit our Free Access to Computers and the Internet page for locations and hours of public access computer centers.

Now’s the time to sign up for low cost Internet!

Are you looking for low-cost Internet and computer options? With schools being back in session, many classes are requiring online research, access to email and the ability to log in to the Source (how else can you see whether your child is actually making it to school?!?), it is more than ever necessary for us to be online.

Visit our Home Internet & Computers page where you can get contact and general information about the 4 providers in Seattle offering low cost Internet.

In the meantime, if you need to get on the Internet, you can visit our Free Public Computer Access page for a computer lab near you, offering open lab hours for community members.

Mayor recommends projects to promote broadband, digital literacy

Mayor Mike McGinn is recommending 24 community based technology  projects for support through the City’s 2013 Technology Matching Fund. These broadband adoption and digital literacy projects are being forwarded to City Council.  See the list of projects and more information in the press release.

Mayor at Ethiopian Community in Seattle computer learning center

Mayor McGinn at the Ethiopian Community in Seattle computer learning center, a Technology Matching Fund recipient. The center is located in Rainier Beach.

Thanks to 2,931 Seattle residents!

A big THANK YOU to more than 2,900 residents who completed our residential technology survey!

Over the past few months, 803 people completed our random phone survey and 2,128 people took the survey online.  Thank you for caring about Seattle’s technological future and taking the time to tell us how we can communicate more effectively throughout the city.

Your survey responses will help guide the City of Seattle’s work on digital equity, broadband services, public outreach and engagement, cable franchising, the Seattle Channel, and the City’s web and social media.  We also hope your responses will be useful to community groups and educators, and others planning to deliver information and applications to our diverse residents.

If you’d like to receive a note when the results come out, email us at communitytechnology@seattle.gov.

THANK YOU.

Volunteers sought for City of Seattle Technology Advisory Board

The City of Seattle is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join our tech advisory board. Applications are being taken through January 18th, 2013.   The Board and committees help guide city strategies and investments in our digital future. The ten member Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB – seattle.gov/cttab) advises the City on broadband deployment and adoption, mobile and web based services for Seattle.gov, social media, open data, online public engagement, the Seattle Channel, cable tv franchise agreements, Technology Matching Fund grants and efforts to close the digital divide.  There are currently two positions open on the Board, as well as opportunities to participate in project committees.  We strongly value broad experience and diverse participation.

See more about the technology advisory board at seattle.gov/cttab.  Please email any questions or apply by sending your resume and letter of interest to CommunityTechnology@seattle.gov.

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in the city’s boards and commissions. Women, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, young persons, senior citizens, persons of color, and immigrants are encouraged to apply.  You must be a City of Seattle resident or work in Seattle.

Additional information:
Position requirements (consider before applying)

  • Applicants must:
    • either reside or work in Seattle
    • not be employed by the City of Seattle
    • not serve on more than one City of Seattle board or commission
    • attend monthly meetings (2nd Tuesday, 6-8 pm, generally held downtown at Seattle Municipal Tower)
    • participate in at least one CTTAB committee (times set according to committee members’ schedules)
  • Service to the board expected to begin February 2012
  • This is a two-year appointment, potentially renewable for one additional term
  • Time commitment (5-10 hours per month, depending upon activity)

Originally posted on Dec 6, 2012.

600 Seattle area youth join Adobe Youth Voices worldwide

Adobe Youth Voice LogoThe City of Seattle Department of Information Technology has partnered with the Adobe Foundation and Reel Grrls to greatly expand the Adobe Youth Voices program in the Seattle area. Seattle is home to Adobe’s Fremont campus, which employs about 500 people. This school year, over 600 youth at 20 schools and community organizations will work on projects that allow them to develop new skills and express their voice about issues they care about. Stay tuned for some amazing media!

Projects will be showcased here in Seattle at SIFF and via the international Youth Voices web site, where they’ll join other youth producers from around the world. Reel Grrls, the award winning media training program for girls, is coordinating the Seattle program and just finished training teachers from the participating sites. All sites are receiving curriculum, software and mentoring. Adobe offers free curricula and tools for educators on their website as well. Based on the best practices of educators from around the world, the curricula promotes youth expression, creativity, and engagement, helping young people build critical 21st century technology and life skills.

David Keyes from the City’s Community Technology Program helped recruit and select participating sites. The schools and organizations chosen will give voice to a rich diversity of youth. Partnering with the City is also enabling Adobe and Reel Grrls to leverage other support that the City has provided through its Technology Matching Fund and cable broadband grants. The City will continue to help advise projects on creating media for civic engagement and encourage submission of completed videos for screening on the Seattle Channel.

The sites selected to participate are:
Seattle Public Schools (The World School -BOC, Pinehurst Middle School, Aki Kurose Middle School) Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC), Meadowdale High School in the Edmunds School District, Bellevue Big Picture, the Seattle –King County Metrocenter YMCA’s Y-Tech program, Arts Corps, Youth In Focus, Multi-Media Resource Training Institute (MMRTI), Unified Outreach, Technology Access Foundation (TAF), Longhouse Media/Native Lens, KCTS 9, and City of Seattle RecTech Computer learning labs at Garfield Teen Life Center, Delridge, Rainier, Southwest, South Park and Yesler Community Centers.

2012 Seattle Adobe Youth Voices teachers

2012 Seattle Adobe Youth Voices teachers’ orientation at SIFF

It Takes a Community to Bridge the Digital Divide Webinar Tues, 3/6 1 pm EST

David Keyes will be presenting in a national webinar on digital inclusion: Tuesday, March 6th ♦ 1 pm Eastern / 10 am Pacific. This will cover the national framework, local government roles, and building partnerships. Register and more: http://www.webjunction.org/events/webinars#mar6

In FCC Chairman Genachowski’s announcement of the sweeping Connect2Compete initiative to increase broadband connectivity and Internet access across the nation, he listed an impressive array of partners who are joining in the effort. Although he singled out libraries as “vital centers for digital literacy,” any effective actions must involve the whole community of players. Join us to hear about the key role that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is playing in the broadband adoption challenge and the actions already underway for building digital communities. And also hear insights on the collaborative roles and efforts of city/county governments and public and private organizations. Learn how to get started with inclusion efforts from organizations who have taken the steps to implement practical programs which meet local needs and share your ideas about collaborative efforts which lead digital inclusion.

Presented by: Mary Chute, deputy director for libraries, Institute of Museum and Library Services; Ron Carlee, chief operating officer, International City/County Management Association; and David Keyes, community technology program manager, City of Seattle.