San Diego, CA -- The San Diego Broadband Initiative (SDBI), a program led by the San Diego Futures Foundation and a collaboration of community partners, has reduced the digital divide in unconnected communities throughout San Diego County. Formed to provide technology and technical resources to San Diego's underserved and low-income families, SDBI delivered hardware, software, applications, training, technical services and related resources to over 5,000 low-income families in San Diego's urban disadvantaged neighborhoods. By bridging the “digital divide,” these families have access to an improved quality of life including not only computers and connections, but access to training that leads to higher levels of education and employment. A 2008 survey conducted by the California Emerging Technology Fund indicated that broadband use and access increased throughout ethe state of California as a result of statewide efforts and programs like SDBI. The survey evaluated 10 categories of technology use to measure progress in closing the digital divide. Not surprisingly, the greatest increase was in the use of social networking, which grew 11%.
To date, over 5,000 families have participated and received a wide variety of services. Participants completed more than 31,000 hours of basic computer training the first two years. After training, each family received a restored desktop computer with a new operating system, current software and discounted internet service.
The San Diego Broadband Initiative reached a number of significant milestones toward expanding the use of technology among unconnected populations in its first year. SDBI launched an interactive website, www.sdbroadband.org, negotiated reduced Internet connection rates, and provided over 30 on-line education and training courses to families. The depth of SDBI services offers families the tools they need to increase skills and educational achievement, providing paths that lead to economic security and improved quality of life.
Over the next year, SDFF will develop the next phase for the Initiative, SDBI 2.5, while continuing to provide SDBI services. SDBI 2.0 launched in early 2010. The second phase will expand SDBI services to more than twice the target population of the first two years and offer exciting new products and services.
2008-2011 Completed Objectives and Stats
- Over 5000 Families Served
- 1100+ Families with Disabilities Served
- Over 4000 Internet subscriptions
- Top Internet Providers: Cox Communications and AT&T
- 35,000+ hours of training
- 20% of Trainees were Age 50+
The SDBI addresses the five factors needed for disadvantaged populations to get connected and adopt broadband use. The factors are known as the Five “A”s.
Access - physical connection to the Internet/broadband connectivity
Applications – desktop applications; online software of any kind, training programs, web-based resources such as online banking and long distance learning
Accessibility - technology and solutions must be usable by those with disabilities
Affordability - The total cost of ownership is considered the greatest barrier to inclusion for most low-income families
Assistance - some level of support and assistance must be provided
Access + Applications + Accessibility + Assistance = Changing Lives Through Technology
Did you know?
- Broadband infrastructure is deployed unevenly throughout the state, from state-of–the-art to nonexistent.
- Only half of Californians have access to broadband at speeds greater than 10 Mbps.
- Broadband is critical to expanding job opportunities for to rural residents, people with disabilities, and older adults.
- Connectivity is important determinant of success in school.
- Nonprofits, government, and social service agencies have spent millions of dollars developing online resources for low-income families who cannot access them because they lack standard, readily available technology.
Broadband connectivity has made life easier for over 90% of the population of San Diego County. The San Diego Broadband Initiative will extend access and provide training that will allow unconnected individuals to take full advantage of the benefits of broadband technology
The Goals for the San Diego Broadband Initiative are to:
- Improve education outcomes in grades K through 12 by providing after-school technology programs and rebuilt home computers for very low income families.
- Improve access to post-secondary education and long-distance learning.
- Improve access to individuals with disabilities increasing inclusiveness and opportunities.
- Encourage economic growth through increased capacity and expanded markets.
- Continue the development of San Diego as a knowledge-based economy by preparing a qualified workforce.
Broadband infrastructure and use present tremendous opportunities. Broadband can be used to benefit education, healthcare, and public safety. Broadband connectivity is needed to utilize numerous services that save people time, money and energy including banking, telecommuting and long-distance learning. Broadband infrastructure allows people to work from home, saving energy and reducing traffic.