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 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 or contact or 206-386-9759.

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


City & Community host Get Online Week Dec 3-8

Get Online logo (stoplight with "Get Online" for go light)Learn more about what families can do on the Internet and where to go for training.  This week, December 3rd-8th, twenty community and cultural centers in Seattle are hosting open houses, individual assistance, and workshops at computer learning centers. See the Get Online Week list of sites and activities or contact Vicky Yuki at 206-233-7877 or  Drop by to learn more about using the Internet, online job resources, consumer information, homework help and a world of activities online.

More About Get Online Week and public computing centers:
Get Online Week is being offered by participating centers in partnership with the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology and the Seattle Public Library.

The only way some people have access to computers, the Internet or technology training is to use the services of nearby public computing centers and libraries. Even for those with computers or Internet devices, these centers also offer valuable training in how to find and use essential services and learning materials online. Many of the centers offer instruction in other languages or specialize in serving specific residents, such as youth, seniors, or the disabled community.

Get Online Week started in 2010 as a one-day event at 10 participating centers in Seattle’s central and south neighborhoods. Get Online Weeks are also held in Europe. This Community Technology education program is part of the City’s effort to ensure digital inclusion and foster broadband adoption.

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

$75,000 in prizes for best apps – deadline Sept 6

The State of Washington, King County, and the City of Seattle are alerting local applications developers that the deadline for submitting apps to the Evergreen Apps Challenge is only one week away. Eligible entries should be submitted before 5 pm PST on Thursday, Sept 6.

The Challenge is open to people who live, work or study in Washington State and Washington small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

 “The Evergreen Apps Challenge encourages people to find interesting and innovative ways to use government data to improve their community”, said Ted Schmitt, chair of Seattle’s Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board. “This is a great opportunity for application developers, designers, entrepreneurs and anyone with ideas for improving their community to leverage the data our government creates everyday to create fun, useful and accessible tools for everyone.”

 The StateCounty, and City have all made datasets available for public use, though any data about Washington State, King County or Seattle can be used for the challenge. Review detailed rules at to see if your application or idea is eligible.

 Prizes will be awarded on October 1 at a celebration at Seattle Center.



What do you want to ask Mayor McGinn?

Wednesday, August 22, at 7 p.m. is Ask The Mayor on the Seattle Channel. Got a burning question?  

Here’s how to get your question to Mayor McGinn:

  1. Call 206-684-8821 during the live show from 7-8 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 22.
  2. Email:
  3. Submit a question online:
  4. Twitter: @SeattleChannel
  5. Facebook:


Comments to FCC support digital literacy and broadband

This week the City of Seattle and the Washington State Council on Digital Inclusion submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on proposed changes in rules that would expand telephone support programs to include broadband deployment and adoption.

Comments support the FCC’s desire to use savings from the Lifeline Program/Universal Services Fund to support programs and services to improve digital literacy and broadband adoption among Americans who face barriers to benefitting from these technologies. 

Here are the key positions taken in the comments:

  • A wide range of disadvantaged residents need these programs to help them access jobs, education, health information, and essential services. These include immigrants and refugees, disabled, communities of color, and seniors. Let local communities propose projects that best serve local needs and leverage community assets.
  • Community based non-profit organizations and local governments should be eligible organizations in addition to schools and libraries.
  • The FCC should build on organizations with training expertise and what has been begun by the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  
  • The FCC should develop other funding mechanisms, as well as encouraging industry incentives and partnerships that sustain digital literacy training programs and do not reduce funding for existing voice and broadband programs.
  • The FCC should support sharing of best practices and training in delivery of digital literacy.
  • We support the American Libraries Association position that money should also not be taken away from E-rate for this effort.

The City of Seattle has been a leader in digital inclusion efforts with programs including the Technology Matching Fund program, Seniors Training Seniors in Technology, RecTech/Parks Department computer learning centers, and Access for All cable broadband program for non-profit tech learning centers. See

See more about the Washington State Council on Digital Inclusion on the Communities Connect Network learning and resource hub at This includes a directory of technology learning centers across the state.


Link to the FCC filing: or