Closing the Digital Gap Gain Momentum in St. Pete

More than half the households in five neighborhoods in south St. Petersburg lacked connections to high-speed broadband internet as recently as 2019.  That puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to education, employment and healthcare, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the City Health Dashboard.

“One of my dreams, and COVID proved it, is that internet is a utility like water, that everybody should have,” said Alison Barlow, executive director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District and co-lead of the Digital Inclusion Working Group. “How we get to that point and make it affordable is a challenge.”

There is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but the Digital Inclusion Working Group, co-led by Barlow and Veatrice Farrell, executive director of Deuces Live, have several ideas. One of them is a center to assist people in signing up for a new federal program that provides financial help to households struggling to afford internet service during the pandemic.

To learn more about this collaboration read the recent St. Pete Catalyst Article.

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