There is an incredible effort beginning in Cleveland to bridge what is called the “Digital Divide.”
Currently, data shows roughly half the city does not have reliable broadband or internet access. When 49 percent of people in your city can’t get online easily, it impacts their ability to apply for jobs, to pay their bills — it means children fall behind in school through no fault of their own.
“That saying, leave no child behind? Well, we want to leave no resident behind in this new digital economy,” said Leon Wilson, chief of digital innovation at the Cleveland Foundation.
The Cleveland Foundation just announced $488,000 in grants that encourage digital inclusion — a multi-faceted initiative to get everyone connected, “until we get to a point that the internet access is treated more like a utility, no different than electricity. Until it’s in every home,” Wilson said.
The first part of the initiative is a partnership with the Cleveland Public Library and Cuyahoga County Library systems.
Starting October 9, all 28 Cleveland Library branches and four Cuyahoga County Library branches will have 4G unlimited data hotspots available for free checkout for 21-day periods.
Essentially, checking out the internet will be like checking out a library book.
All you need is a library card. There will be no fee for the 4G service.
The second part of the initiative is the arrival of the nonprofit PCs for People. They are based out of Minnesota and have a second location in Denver. Cleveland will be the third city they open up shop.
PCs for People refurbishes computers donated by companies and offers them starting at no-cost to people who are 200 percent below the poverty line — think people on Medicaid or receiving government benefits. They also have desktops and laptops for sale, with a max price of $150.
PCs for People has a temporary location on 6114 Francis Ave. in Cleveland.
They will eventually move to their permanent location on E. 31st and St. Clair by early 2019. To purchase or obtain computers, residents should bring ID and proof of eligibility. You can click here for a list of documents that will be accepted. The store will also offer computer repairs.
CLICK HERE to read full story