The City of Baltimore’s digital equity framework revolves around the goal of closing the digital divide by 2030. It’s an ambitious objective, but a wealth of local organizations can help the city get it done.
In fact, they’ve already started.
96,000 households, or about 40% of Baltimore residents, were living without wireline internet connectivity before the pandemic. Since then, organizations like Project Waves, Rowdy Orb.it, and PCs for People have been providing devices, digital literacy education and job training programs to help bridge that gap. The city set aside $35 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds toward its goal of enabling full participation in the modern, digital economy for all its residents by “building ubiquitous, open-access fiber infrastructure,” according to the framework.
Baltimore Tracks, the 40-member coalition of Baltimore tech companies committed to improving racial equity in the local tech community, detailed its own recommendations for achieving these targets in a recent letter to Mayor Brandon Scott, broadband and digital equity director Jason Hardebeck and other city officials. The letter, which Baltimore Tracks permitted Technical.ly to review but declined to publicly release, details how to reach the lofty goals of not just broadband connectivity for Baltimore residents, but also digital equity, which would allow every city community to benefit from the tech sector’s successes.