The City of Seattle Wins Two National Awards for Digital Equity

The Seattle Information Technology Department was honored with two awards by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA). Seattle IT’s Strategic Plan for Facilitating Equitable Access to Wireless Broadband was awarded the 2017 Community Broadband Strategic Plan of the Year. The Technology Matching Fund was awarded the 2017 Community Broadband Digital Equity Project of the Year.

“The City is committed to making Seattle a more digitally equitable community,” said Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller. “The recognition by NATOA shows we are making progress on that commitment and is a testament to the great work of our staff and community partners.”

The Technology Matching Fund provides a financial source for digital equity projects up to $50,000. The goal of the program is to increase access to free or low-cost broadband, improve digital literacy skills, and provide affordable, available, and sufficient devices and technical support. The Technology Matching Fund is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

“The City of Seattle has invested in public technology support for at least two decades,” said Community Technology Manager Chance Hunt.  “Recognition for the Technology Matching Fund is gratifying for both the City and the scores of community based organizations who have delivered countless hours of computer training for our residents who need it most.

The Strategic Plan for Facilitating Equitable Access to Wireless Broadband explored three options to increase the availability of competitive, affordable, and equal broadband Internet access across the city. The options include reducing regulatory barriers, exploring public and private partnerships, and exploring municipal broadband.

“I’m really proud of the work of the digital engagement team and our partners. This report is part of our larger commitment to improving accessibility in Seattle, and it gives us a great start and some workable options to make the Internet more accessible to our residents,” said Director of Digital Engagement Jim Loter.

NATOA is a national association representing the needs and interests of local governments and consortiums in promoting community interests in communications. Membership consists of government agencies, staff, and elected officials. The Community Broadband Awards recognize and highlight the efforts to bring the benefits of technology to communities across the country. The awards will be handed out during the organization’s annual conference in Seattle September 11 – 14.

To learn more about Seattle’s Technology Matching Fund, visit http://www.seattle.gov/tech/initiatives/digital-equity/technology-matching-fund.