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.

December brainstorm eZine now online

The December Brainstorm, City of Seattle Community Technology Program eZine, is now online. View it here.

This month, we feature:

  • 2013 Brainstorm Survey;
  • Seattle Channel’s new mobile app;
  • Seattle hosts National League of Cities Congress & digital inclusion workshop;
  • Iu-Mien American Association’s new computer literacy program;
  • Seattle Public Library’s Tech Impact survey
  • Seattle the top Twitter trendsetter in US; and
  • Much, much more!

Contribute announcements and articles to vicky.yuki@seattle.gov or call Vicky at 206-233-7877 to discuss an article idea.

Enjoy!

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.