Bridging the Digital Divide: Cleveland Mayor Proposes Affordable Internet Access for All. We have great news for residents of Cleveland! The city’s Mayor, Justin Bibb, has proposed new legislation that will ensure affordable internet access for all. This is a major step forward in bridging the digital divide that exists in our city and will help more people to access the many benefits of the internet.
The proposed legislation will make affordable internet access a basic right for all Cleveland residents. This means that internet service providers will be required to offer affordable plans to all residents, regardless of their income or location within the city. This will be a game-changer for many people who currently struggle to afford internet access, as it will allow them to stay connected with family and friends, access educational resources, and search for jobs online.
The legislation submitted by Bibb includes a $20 million proposal from local nonprofit DigitalC to provide citywide affordable internet access. According to a release, the $20 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investment would go toward “infrastructure buildout, implementation, and service management – expanding the speeds and reach of their current low-cost network throughout the City” and allow all Cleveland residents, regardless of neighborhood or income level, to subscribe to internet access for $18 per month.
The other legislation Bibb is proposing comes in the form of an agreement with SiFi Networks who will privately invest over $400 million to deploy a citywide fiber optic network without any public financing.
“Internet access should be a right for all Cleveland residents and not a privilege for only those who can afford it,” Mayor Bibb said in a statement. “In this day and age everything can be done online – from essentials like accessing medical information and managing finances, to taking educational classes or career development courses. These two initiatives will break down the digital barriers and ensure everyone in Cleveland, regardless of income, has access to this fundamental right.
“SiFi’s investment in Cleveland has the potential to transform our economy for generations,” he added. “We’re raising both our floor with DigitalC – by ensuring every single resident has access to high-quality, affordable internet – and our ceiling with SiFi – by ensuring universal access to the infrastructure of the 21st century
The proposed legislation also includes measures to ensure that internet service providers provide reliable and high-quality internet access to all residents. This will be achieved through a combination of regulations and incentives to encourage providers to invest in the necessary infrastructure to deliver high-speed internet to all parts of the city.
The benefits of affordable internet access are clear. Studies have shown that access to the internet can improve educational outcomes, increase civic engagement, and boost economic growth. By ensuring that all Cleveland residents have access to affordable, high-quality internet, we can help to create a more equitable and prosperous city for everyone.
We believe that this proposed legislation is an important step forward in making Cleveland a more connected and inclusive city. We urge all residents to support this legislation and to advocate for its passage. With your help, we can ensure that everyone in our city has the opportunity to thrive in the digital age.
In conclusion, we are thrilled about the proposed legislation for affordable internet access in Cleveland. We believe that this is a critical step in bridging the digital divide in our city and ensuring that all residents have access to the many benefits of the internet. We urge everyone to support this legislation and to work together to create a more connected, inclusive, and prosperous Cleveland for all.