The following is a Guest Blog by Romina Angelelli, a student at Florida International University. In May, Romina attended the 2016 Net Inclusion Summit at the Kansas City Public Library. In the post below, she discusses key insights from the summit and how it connects to her work addressing the digital divide in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Net Inclusion 2016:
Addressing the Digital Divide From Miami to Kansas City
Thirty-four million, a number that's been running through my head ever since it was mentioned by Federal Communications Commission staffer Gigi Sohn in her keynote speech at the first annual Net Inclusion Summit. As you read this, there are 34 million Americans who can’t access this blog even if they wanted to. These Americans lack access to something that has quickly become a necessity in our country: high-speed Internet. Without it, they may be unable to access their government benefits or be able to apply for a job. So many of us are fascinated by how quickly technology is moving and by all of the ways the Internet has made our lives easier, but we continue to forget those who are being left behind. The faster technology progresses, the harder it will be for 34 million of us to catch up.
Seeing so many people come together for the purpose of digital inclusion at the conference, hosted by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance at the Kansas City Public Library, made me hopeful about the future of the digital divide. It was great to see how far Kansas City has come in the past five years and hear several remarks about the efforts being made to bring access to those who don’t have it. Although Kansas City is a unique case due to the partnership with Google Fiber, it seems progress like this is possible in other cities throughout our nation.