Ed Blayney
May 16 · 4 min read
Volunteers developing ideas to solve the digital divide in Louisville

Below are the ideas that came out of our Design Jam with IxDA Louisville. If you are interested to learn more about the Design Jam process or our Digital Inclusion work in Louisville, check out Part 1 of this series.

Future posts will document how we have taken these ideas and turned them into results for Louisville and the digital inclusion community nationally.

How to read this post

The ideas are presented in a uniform format. Here is a quick rundown of the format:

OPPORTUNITY AREAS

  • The research identified four major opportunity areas to address: Barriers, Awareness, Sign Up Process, and Stigma

Learn more about these in Part 1

Project Idea Title

Premise

  • Brief Description of the project

Key Components

  • Initiatives inside the project

Intended outcome

  • How success should be measured

Design Jam Project Ideas

Note: the ideas are grouped by their “opportunity”

BARRIERS

Community Connection Initiative

Premise

Create a fund that would cover the cost of low-cost internet for eligible residents. It would provide subsidies to eligible families to get them connected the internet for a set period to increase adoption in low income communities. It would be funded through grants, government funds, and by Internet Service Providers. Also, community members could make donations much like they do with the local winter heat funds in many communities

Key Components

  • Fund to subsidize internet for low-income families
  • Supported by philanthropic donations including individual households

Intended Outcome

  • Increased broadband adoption in low-income communities

AWARENESS

School Based LCI Reps

Premise

Families with children in local public schools are one of the most likely populations to be eligible for low-cost internet plans, but many of them do not know that they exist. This program would create a knowledge resources about the low-cost programs in select schools so people would know who to go to in order to learn more about the plans. Also, this person would spread awareness about the programs with school staff.

Key Components

  • Volunteers, not staff, from select schools
  • Training sessions for teachers and administrators

Intended Outcome

  • Increased low-cost internet sign ups for families with school aged children

McDonald’s Sign Up

Premise

Meet people where they are. McDonald’s is one of the most commonly mentioned places where people go for free internet access, so there should be information about locally available low-cost plans there. The idea is to work with McDonald’s franchises to spread awareness about the low-cost plans including hosting events with local ISPs or community organizations

Key Components

  • Public/Private partnership
  • Events at restaurants

Intended Outcome

  • Increased adoption of low-cost internet

Free Wifi Access Campaign

Premise

People that lack access to the internet use Public Wi-Fi to get connected. So, there should be information about low-cost internet plans promoted on Public Wi-Fi splash pages. There should also be an option for interested residents to submit their email address to learn more about the programs.

Key Components

  • Work with public wifi hosts to implement splash page

Intended Outcome

  • Increased awareness of low-cost internet plans

SIGN UP PROCESS

Support the Sherpas

Premise

For a resident, the sign-up process can be daunting and confusing. Trusted community workers are in a unique position to help people through the process. Companies need to make it easier for community workers supporting residents s by making it easier to monitor where they are in the process, make re-qualification easier, and work to eliminate pitfalls in general.

Key Components

  • More transparency during the sign-up process for residents that community workers could help them tap into
  • Eliminating common pitfalls with the program (i.e. re-qualification)

Intended Outcome

  • Increased home broadband adoption
  • Higher rates of retainment for people in the program

Low Cost Sign Up e-wizard

Premise

It is too hard for eligible residents to find information about low-cost plans, determine eligibility, and sign up for options. There should be one place to learn about all the available options for low-cost plans and submit for qualification. Ideally, interested parties would submit their information through an e-wizard that would determine their eligibility and submit their information to the ISP, who would then follow up with them to complete the process.

Key Components

  • E-wizard to help take people through the qualification process for all available low-cost plans
  • Use plain language and inclusive design to make it easier to understand details of plans

Intended Outcome

· Increased completion rate for eligible residents that start the sign up process


EDUCATION AND STIGMA

Connecting the Connectors

Premise

Create a professional network to support community workers on the front line of digital inclusion. Network would provide training and professional development opportunities as well as provide resources for them to use in their daily work. Along with professional development, it would also provide a place for recognition of best practices and champions and provide hyper local data resources and analysis for practitioners to understand the digital divide in their specific community

Key Components

  • Professional Development network
  • Ambassador Toolkit
  • Best Practice documentation
  • Hyper-local data

Intended Outcome

  • A network of digital inclusion advocates and ambassadors with knowledge and tools necessary to bridge the digital divide

In case you missed it, here is more about our process getting to these solutions.

Check back for Part 3 and beyond, where we will follow these ideas as the germinate into action and results.

Improve and Innovate — Louisville Metro

The official publication for Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Performance Improvement & Innovation in Louisville, KY

Ed Blayney

Written by

@OPI2Lou #iteam project manager, #localgov, #smartcity, #mobility,#digitalinclusion, #civictech, wannabe policy wonk #Veteran #RollTide #TarHeel

Improve and Innovate — Louisville Metro

The official publication for Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Performance Improvement & Innovation in Louisville, KY

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