The Public Technology Institute (PTI) gave a Telecommunications and Information Solutions Award to Santa Monica, Calif. for its Digital Inclusion Pilot project that connects affordable housing residents with the fastest broadband.
CityNet, Santa Monica’s fiber optic network, is the nation’s fastest broadband, according to the city. The goal of CityNet is to cross the digital divide by promoting economic development through competitive broadband service.
Many of the multi-unit buildings involved in the pilot have community rooms used for after school programs. According to the Santa Monica Mirror, CityNet rates are $69 per month for 1 Gigabit service and $360 per month for 10 Gigabit service. However, Public Assistance Program recipients can get the services for $48 and $252 per month, respectively.
The Digital Inclusion Pilot is giving 1 Gigabit broadband, and one desktop computer, to each community room at 10 affordable housing complexes. Students and and families without broadband or computers can now access the information superhighway in these buildings.
The City has made a powerful statement by taking concrete steps to close the digital divide. In Los Angeles County, 46 percent of households who earn less than $30,000 per year do not have access to the internet at home. Studies have shown without internet access at home, students have lower graduation rates,” said Sarah Letts, executive director of Community Corporation of Santa Monica.
The mission of the non-profit PTI is to promote innovation and collaboration for thought-leaders in government, and advance the use of technology to improve the management and delivery of services for citizens. The organization shares research, education and consulting services and awards meritorious projects, selected by independent judges, as a means of national recognition.