Smart Growth & Regional Collaboration
Digital access is crucial for individuals and communities to participate in society, democracy, and the economy. Full digital equity requires modern, reliable broadband infrastructure, affordable connections, digital literacy, and device access. MAPC works with municipalities, communities, and nonprofits to help meet digital equity needs throughout Greater Boston.
Communities throughout Greater Boston, especially those within the eight Gateway Cities within the MAPC region, face multiple barriers to digital equity. Lack of access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet connections, inadequate device access, and limited digital literacy resources are all barriers to digital equity. MAPC's Digital Equity team works at the municipal, community, and individual level to overcome these barriers through digital equity planning, procurement, and community engagement.
MAPC is at its core a planning agency, and we see digital equity planning as a key tool for municipalities to support digital equity throughout Greater Boston. In addition to planning services, MAPC provides procurement and technical support to municipalities, public housing agencies, and affordable housing managers to build and maintain in-home broadband networks for their residents. We also coordinate and support efforts to address gaps in device access and digital literacy so that residents can take full advantage of broadband access.
Digital Equity Planning:
MAPC is, at its core, a planning agency. We work with cities and towns across Greater Boston to produce Digital Equity plans which guide municipalities, public housing agencies, and other public entities in their efforts to increase digital equity. Learn more »
In-home broadband access is a key component of digital equity. Access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet is crucial for residents of Greater Boston to fully participate in work, school, and society. We work with municipalities, public housing authorities, and affordable housing developers to build Wi-Fi networks for their residents. We work closely with the Apartment Wi-Fi team at EducationSuperHighway to support this work. Learn more »
Digital Literacy and Device Access:
Digital equity is a three-legged stool: achieving digital equity requires not just a broadband connection, but a reliable device and the skills to use it. We work with communities and partners to make sure that residents of the public and affordable housing sites we work with to build broadband networks also have access to devices and literacy training.
A leader in this field is Tech Goes Home, a Boston-based nonprofit that has been providing digital literacy training and devices for over 20 years. Learn more »
Digital Equity Data:
MAPC's Data Services department publishes a wide variety of data relevant to daily life and public management in Greater Boston, including Digital Equity data. Learn more on DataCommon, MAPC's open data portal »
Digital Equity Resources
There are multiple organizations working to advance digital equity around the country, many of which MAPC partners and collaborates with.
The Centri Tech Foundation supports digital literacy initiatives through their Digital Navigators cohort, in which MAPC participated.
Connect Humanity funds digital equity work, including supporting cities in producing municipal broadband plans.
EducationSuperHighway is a national nonprofit focusing on broadband access in K-12 schools, and on closing the digital divide for the 18 million US households which have access to the internet but can't afford to connect.
The Institute for Local Self Reliance works to build local power and capacity. They are the publisher of muninetworks.org, a resource to discover how communities are investing in their own Internet infrastructure to promote economic prosperity and improve quality of life.
The Massachusetts Broadband Institute at the MassTech Collaborative is Massachusetts' state broadband office. Their mission is to make affordable high-speed Internet available to all homes, businesses, schools, libraries, medical facilities, government offices, and other public places across the Commonwealth.
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance is an organization which works to advance digital equity by supporting community programs and equipping policymakers to act.
Next Century Cities works with cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband.
The Pew Research Center publishes data and research on the digital divide.
Tech Goes Home is a Boston-based nonprofit which works throughout Massachusetts, with a focus on Gateway Cities, to provide devices and digital literacy training to those who need it.