In 2016, the New York Times reported that 40% of Detroit citizens do not have access to broadband internet. This along with the increased poverty and unemployment in many pockets of the city have proven to cause an already growing disparity to grow at an even faster rate. From students’ studies being limited, to difficulty competing in job markets largely propelled by internet access, this “digital divide” is one that could do great harm to a community in a relatively short period of time. It’s a problem the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recognized as a critical one for many areas across the US. In 2010, the FCC released the National Broadband Plan and has set the lofty goal of making broadband internet access universal and affordable by 2020.
While dealing with more heated debates over Net Neutrality, the FCC has also been quietly working to improve internet access for critical areas such as schools, libraries and rural areas. Unfortunately, according to analysis from The Benton Foundation, the FCC has only accomplished approximately 20% of the National Broadband plan’s goals.
So for the underserved areas in Detroit, where inadequate infrastructure and lack of telecom investment have placed residents at a huge digital disadvantage, a local grassroots group has taken the charge to ensure their city isn’t left behind.
Watch the short documentary below to see how the Detroit Community Technology Project has deployed their “Equitable Internet Initiative” to help level the playing field and take charge of the growth of their community.