Philadelphia Earns Fifth Consecutive Recognition as a Digital Inclusion Trailblazer

Computer, InternetImage by Jane Snyder

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Philadelphia has been named a 2023 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) for the fifth consecutive year. The recognition is a testament to the city’s persistent efforts in bridging the digital divide.

The NDIA, an organization comprising over 600 non-profit organizations, policy-makers, and academics, works towards improving access to broadband and achieving digital equity. Digital equity is defined by the NDIA as the state where all individuals and communities have the necessary information technology capacity needed for full participation in society, democracy, and economy.

The significance of digital equity has been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Philadelphia’s commitment to this cause precedes this global crisis. The city recognizes the importance of accessible high-speed internet, devices, and digital skills training for its residents, and it has been proactive in addressing these needs without being prompted by external circumstances.

This year, Philadelphia stands among a record number of 47 Digital Inclusion Trailblazers. These awardees, representing municipal, county, and regional governments, serve as models for other local governments striving to build digitally inclusive communities.

Philadelphia earned its Trailblazer status through several key initiatives:

  1. Providing funding for digital skills classes for caregivers, immigrants, non-English speakers, and other residents.
  2. Funding and managing the Philadelphia Digital Navigator Network, which offers one-on-one support to individuals and families.
  3. Collaborating with PCs for People to provide free and low-cost devices through a robust device recycling and refurbishing program.
  4. Launching a comprehensive media campaign and outreach to encourage eligible residents to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
  5. Managing the City’s Digital Literacy Alliance and participating in the Technology Learning Collaborative coalition of digital inclusion practitioners.
  6. Directly funding local and innovative digital inclusion programming through the The Digital Literacy Alliance and PHLConnectED.
  7. Releasing the city’s Digital Equity Plan in 2022.

The NDIA has revamped its seven-year-old Trailblazer program this year, introducing seven categories of current best practices. Each applicant’s contributions are verified for accuracy, assessed for community impact, and featured on NDIA’s website. The new scoring system features two levels of recognition for Trailblazer awardees. Among the winners, Philadelphia was named a Visionary Digital Inclusion Trailblazer, having scored 18 or more points in the evaluation.

Philadelphia takes pride in being a leader in Digital Inclusion. The city understands the crucial role of reliable and affordable internet access for its residents. It remains committed to engaging Philadelphians by providing training and resources and creating solutions to address digital inequities. The city’s Digital Equity Plan reflects its dedication towards closing the digital divide.

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