Bill Callahan, director of Connect Your Community 2.0 compiled data from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2013 to come up with estimates for major US cities. Detroit ranked #2 for worst connectivity. That means that Detroit households had no access to internet, not even a smartphone.
As the City of Detroit launches more mobile apps, start-ups develop digital solutions, and services continually move online – there needs to be a recognition analog connections are necessary. That is unless Detroit wants to leave almost half of its population out of the loop.
Civic technology that utilizes texting services, community groups that help residents increase technology literacy, library branches that offer internet access, and old fashioned people-to-people canvassing will be critical pieces of inclusive Detroit development.
Some great examples of addressing this digital divide are the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition’s (DDJC) Disco-Techs introducing technology at community events around Detroit and the Detroit Digital Stewards program that provided community technology training focused on community mesh networks for internet connectivity.