Internet access issues is something that is believed to be a problem for the populations apart of rural America.
Unfortunately, some of the biggest cities in America are a part of the population without internet access.
In Detroit, 40 percent of the population has no internet access within their households. According to the Federal Communications Commission. Of the school-aged children in the city, 70 percent of them have no internet access. According to the FCC, Detroit has one of the most severe digital divides in the country.
In VICE Motherland and CNET collaboration article, Diana Nucera, director of the Detroit Community Technology Project, said,
“When you kind of think about all the ways the internet affects your life and how 40 percent of people in Detroit don’t have that access you can start to see how Detroit has been stuck in this economic disparity for such a long time.”
The people of Detroit have started a grassroots movement to be able to close the gap, Nucera is a part of this growing cohort of Detroiters. It’s a combination of community members and multiple Detroit nonprofits.
To start, they will begin with three underserved neighborhoods, installing high speed internet that will share connections from an antenna on the tallest building on the street, giving the people who have not had internet, access. This project is being called the Equitable Internet Initiative.
The city is filled with dark fiber optic cable that’s not connected to any homes or businesses relic from more optimistic days.
Many residents are unable to afford internet, otare on some form of federal or city subsidy like food stamps. Therefore, these people and students are priority for the Initiative, said Nucera.
The efforts being made started last summer. Beginning with enlisting digital stewards, locals from each neighborhood who were interested in working for nonprofit coalition, spreading the word, teaching digital literacy, to installing routers.
Big Telecom companies didn’t believe it was worthwhile to invest their network to these communities.
In addition, they have been encouraging local residents to take advantage of the shared tools. Things like like a forum and emergency communication networks, that is completely localized and secure.
Also, being a city that is rebuilding after a decade of economic turmoil, the internet can not just be a luxury for the wealthy.
In addition, the rebirth of Detroit will not be without each of the city’s diverse communities having access to basic tools. The internet is a tool of modern work education, communication, and healthcare.