Digital Access and Equity Plan
for the City of Everett
Few Massachusetts municipalities of Everett’s size have adopted a clear strategy around providing fast, reliable, and affordable internet to residents and businesses, and most cities and towns within the state do not have a clear understanding of the role of local government in the area of digital access. Everett is set to become a leader within the Commonwealth by developing a plan that is scaled to fit the capacity of municipal staff while leveraging a strong resource network of local, state, and federal resources that cross the public, private, educational, and nonprofit sectors.
With funding through a Federal Economic Development Administration Disaster Mitigation and Recovery Grant, MAPC will build the capacity of City stakeholders to begin addressing the challenges of internet access in Everett. The project will be guided by a Core Working Group made up of City staff and key partners, as well as an Advisory Committee of expert entities. The timeframe for this project will be six months, from January to June 2021.
Digital Access and Equity Survey Now Available!
Your input will help the cities plan for future investment, policy changes, and program development to improve internet access and bridge the digital divide. We encourage you to share this survey with your family and friends. All information will be held confidential and only shared in aggregate form. If you would be interested in participating in a follow up conversation or focus group please indicate where asked at the end of this survey.
The development of the plan will hinge on three determining factors
Access to Affordable, High Speed, and Reliable Internet
Ensuring that residents and businesses are able to acquire internet services at an affordable price that meets their needs. This will be a central focus of the Everett Internet Access and Equity Plan. MAPC will work to evaluate the existing range of internet service providers and associated service availability, costs, and speeds. Based on this analysis, MAPC will work with the City to evaluate a suite of options that would improve the access to affordable, high speed, and reliable internet in the City.
Availability of Computing Devices
In order to utilize the internet for critical personal services such as education, healthcare, and job search/online applications individuals need a computing device with a certain speed and functionality. The proliferation of smartphone technology has helped millions of individuals gain access to the communications benefits of the internet, but is not a substitute for a personal computing devices function. MAPC will work to evaluate the computing gap in Everett and steps to improve device availability for the community.
The ability to use a device and internet effectively and in a way that enables an individual to easily navigate needed uses and services is the last determining factor that MAPC will structure this plan around. Understanding the different uses and needs of various segments of Everett’s community will assist in creating a plan for improving literacy in a way that meets community needs and culture.
The Plan will outline the different paths available to the City of Everett to improve internet access within the community. The plan’s recommendations will be structured around achieving the City’s to-be-determined vision and goal of internet access and will lay out 2 –3 potential pathways that the City and community stakeholders could pursue.
These pathways may include actions that could be taken by the City administration, school district, community-based organizations, internet service providers, or other entities. The pathways developed will not be mutually exclusive, and MAPC will work with the City administration and stakeholders to evaluate short, medium, and long term opportunities.
MAPC will work to align this process with regional and state-level efforts to advance broader internet access. Where possible, MAPC will coordinate the recommendations and implementation steps with efforts in adjacent communities to encourage shared resources and investment strategies.
This plan will include several deliverables:
A Core Working Committee will be formed with the assistance of the Revere Deputy Director of Planning and Economic Development and the Chelsea Economic Development Planner. The Core Working Committee will consist of stakeholders from:
- School administrators and student representatives from the Everett School District
- Representative of the Everett Housing Authority and tenant representatives or association.
- Representative of the Everett Library
- Everett Director of Information Technology
- Representative from Everett City Council
- Representative from Senator DiDominicos Office
- Community-Based Organizations (CBO’s) such as LaComunidad and the Everett Haitian Community Center
- Everett Cable Advisory Committee
- Anchor businesses such as Cambridge Health Alliance and Encore Casino
- Representatives from the small business community and Bunker Hill Community College’s Enterprise Center