Digital Equity Initiative

The Digital Equity Initiative was launched in response to the City’s quadrennial Technology Indicators Report, released in May 2014. The Report found significant disparities in internet access and digital literacy skills for those of lower education, low-incomes, seniors, disabled, minorities, and immigrants. The Initiative is one part of the Mayor’s broadband strategy to increase access, affordability, and public-private-community partnerships. It seeks to ensure all residents and neighborhoods have the information technology capacity needed for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services.

Through a combination of reallocated City staff time, financial investments, and community partnerships, the City is investing $1.6 million on this Initiative this year, focused on the three prongs of the Action Plan: devices and technical support, skills training, and connectivity.

In the first phase of this work, the City sought input from experts and community members to draft a vision for digital equity for Seattle and to identify opportunities to take action. This included in-depth stakeholder interviews and roundtable discussions, along with engagement of an interdepartmental team and an external Digital Equity Action Committee.
Read the Digital Equity Initiative Action Plan: Phase One - Building the Foundation, July 2015

With the Initiative’s foundation established, the City developed specific strategies based on priorities identified through that input. These were released in March 2016.
Read the Digital Equity Initiative Action Plan: Phase Two - From Vision to Action, March 2016
As the City embarks on our efforts to bridge the digital divide, we will focus on outreach and accessibility, skills training, connectivity, devices and technical support, building community capacity, and inclusive engagement and empowerment.