Digital Inclusion Outreach Efforts
growing gap threatens to separate the techno-haves from the
have-nots. To some change agents, closing this digital divide
is not about providing computer access or teaching computer
skills: It's about fundamental social change."
the Great Divide"
Sara Terry, FastCompany
A Community Technology Agenda for the City of Minneapolis
community benefits PDF)
> Everyone connected,
> Transparent secure systems protecting everyone’s privacy
> Technology literacy training for all
> “Get on line” campaign
> Building economic development through digital access
> Digital access for civic engagement and accessible government
> Creating local content for engagement and information
November 2004- July 2005
The Community Computer Access Network (C-CAN) participates in
City-sponsored stakeholder meetings about the Minneapolis IP/Broadband
initiative, along with representatives from school, library,
public housing and park boards.
The Digital Access & Equity Campaign is created. Campaign
partners include: The Community Computer Access Network, the
Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP AmeriCorps) and
the Alliance for Metropolitan
The campaign receives funding by the MSNet Fund of The Minneapolis
Foundation and begins community outreach efforts.
October 2005- May 2006
Campaign partners, with support from CTEP AmeriCorps members,
facilitate community outreach efforts, and host 20+ roundtable
meetings. Over this 8-month period, meeting attendance averages
15-20 participants. DigitalAccess.org is re-launched as a “Wireless
Minneapolis” resource website, and over 100 new subscribers
sign-up to receive the C-CAN listserv. In order to reach “offline” and
new immigrant residents, AmeriCorps members translate a “community
technology needs” survey into four languages and distribute
copies through local social service agencies and at community
January - May 2006
The City of Minneapolis sponsors a series of 6 community meetings
to discuss the Wireless Initiative. Representatives from the
Campaign present Digital Inclusion information at each meeting
and collect survey data from attendees.
Campaign leaders and community technology advocates, including
community technology centers’ staff and volunteers, testify
at a City Council hearing on the wireless initiative. As a result
of this testimony, Council amends the RFP language to require
that vendors address Digital Inclusion through a formal and binding
community benefits agreement. To ensure community engagement,
Council directs city staff to assemble a Task Force to review
public comment and community input on this issue.
The Wireless Minneapolis Digital Inclusion Task Force is convened
to ensure broad stakeholder representation. Twenty-nine Task
Force members review community coalition recommendations, collect
and review correspondence and emails received by the City on
this issue, and make recommendations to City staff regarding
community benefits requirements.
C-CAN, working with the Neighborhood Revitalization Project,
identifies two underserved neighborhoods in which to launch wireless
networks in conjunction with vendor trials. City staff supports
the selection of these neighborhoods, and meets with neighborhood
agencies to plan pilot projects.
The Digital Access + Equity Campaign changes it’s name
to “The Digital Inclusion Coalition”. With support
from the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, the coalition
releases their community
Wireless pilot projects go “live” in both North and
South Minneapolis neighborhoods: launch events are coordinated
by CTEP AmeriCorps members, the City, and community agencies.
Over 150 residents attend launch events. By late summer, 458 “community
technology needs” surveys have been collected at community
events and posted to the website.
The Task Force releases their final
community benefits report, incorporating many
of the Coalitions’ recommendations. These recommendations
form the basis of the community benefits agreement that vendors
are required to respond to in their “best and final offers” in
The City enters into final negotiations with the two finalist
vendors. The Task Force coordinator works closely with City’s
negotiation team to ensure CBA issues are addressed in vendor
selection. US Internet is selected to provide wireless service
to the City of Minneapolis.
City Council reviews and approves the Wireless Minneapolis contract
terms including a community benefits agreement, agreed to by
the vendor and the City during negotiations. City Council directs
staff (BIS) to finalize the contract with US Internet.
The Digital Inclusion Task Force begins work on selecting a community
foundation to manage the newly created “Digital Inclusion
Fund”. The Task Force will establish fund guidelines and
determine community advisory board makeup over the next several