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City of Seattle named Digital Inclusion Trailblazer

In these times, when internet access has played a vital role to connect to our community, the work of the Community Technology & Broadband is an important asset to the City of Seattle. The Seattle IT team is behind the work that garnered a Digital Inclusion Trailblazer designation once again by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA).  

Digital Inclusion Trailblazers is a public inventory of local government initiatives promoting digital literacy and broadband access for underserved residents. NDIA first launched this effort in 2016 as an advocacy tool for local, state, and national digital inclusion leadership. The digital inclusion field, and local governments’ roles in it, have grown and changed a great deal in the past few years, and just in time for the pandemic that pushed us all inside and online. 

Team members say It’s a privilege to work with Seattle’s digital equity partners who Seattle IT worked closely with to define what Digital Equity means in Seattle. They emphasize that to be recognized as one of 16 cities as a Digital Equity Trailblazer on a national level and one of two (along with New York City) for all 6 categories is humbling.  

The qualifiers for this designation are having a full-time staff, a digital inclusion plan, government participation, publish research about internet access, dedicating government funds for digital inclusion programming, and government taking steps to increase affordability.  

Seattle IT’s robust program includes Technology Matching Fund grants awarded to qualifying non-profit organizations in Seattle for digital equity projects. City dollars are matched by the community’s contribution of volunteer labor, materials, professional services, or cash. Another major initiative is Internet for All, a mission of enabling all Seattle residents to access and adopt broadband internet service that is reliable and affordable. This mission furthers the City’s long and ongoing commitment to equitably expanding access to residential broadband. 

The City of Seattle continues to push the envelope of what digital inclusion work can and should look like. The City of Seattle’s Trailblazer status is a model for other local governments to pursue digital inclusion efforts in their own communities.