Digital Equity

Seattle is working together for digital equity, 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.  We collaborate with education, community and business partners on intentional strategies and investments to create opportunities and to reduce and eliminate historical barriers to technology access and use.

Digital equity can:

  • Create educational opportunities for success
  • Open pathways to jobs and entrepreneurship for local, diverse residents
  • Provide the skills and tools to use health, consumer, legal, and social services
  • Offer better quality of life through social networking, community, civic and cultural participation
  • Ensure residents can connect when and where they need to
  • Contribute to more self-sufficient residents, community-based organizations, and small businesses

The City of Seattle started its work to close the digital divide and foster digital inclusion in 1996. The City's most recent Digital Equity Action Plan was launched in 2016.This plan was developed with more than 100 community leaders, non-profit organizations, companies, and members of the public participating. They helped identify needs, a vision and possible strategies (See first vision and strategies report). Our digital equity initiatives are closely aligned with and further the City of Seattle broadband efforts, Race and Social Justice Initiative, and other education, neighborhood, equitable development, technology, cultural and human service goals. 

The priority strategic areas of our digital equity plan are:

  • Skills training
  • Connectivity
  • Devices & Technical Support

See more about these goals and strategies below.  Also see our progress report page. Our strategies are informed by Seattle's Technology Access and Adoption community research, consulting with the community, and other population and program data. Seattle IT provides the Technology Matching Fund and other targeted grants to further digital equity. We also promote free and low-cost Internet for individuals and organizations, and free and discounted computers and other devices.

Digital Equity Goals & Strategies

Goal #1: Skills Training

Create and deliver educational opportunities for residents to gain technology skills, be successful in employment, entrepreneurship, lifelong learning, civic engagement, and use of essential online services.

  • Expand digital skills training programs
  • Prepare qualified trainers in tech centers
  • Provide additional resources and support for community-based organizations

Goal #2: Connectivity

Ensure sufficient options for affordable and available internet connectivity.

  • Improve internet availability to individuals
  • Improve connectivity in public spaces
  • Improve high-speed internet infrastructure (starting with multiple dwelling units)

Goal #3: Devices and Technical Support

Ensure affordable, available, and sufficient devices and technical support.

  • Increase device ownership for low income residents
  • Increase devices available at organizations providing access and training
  • Increase assistive tech (help those with different abilities) at community sites