Three years ago, Knight Foundation set out to find ways to bridge the digital divide in Detroit, a formidable task in a city where less than 40 percent of households have broadband access.
We approached the challenge by focusing on three, high poverty neighborhoods, and set out to fund a broadband network there in addition to digital literacy training.
What we discovered with this project could provide lessons on what works and what doesn’t for communities trying to digitally connect the 100 million Americans without home broadband access.
The insights are part of our new report on digital access in Detroit. Written by journalist Fara Warner, it details the significant difficulties faced in installing a Wi-Fi network: one company considered building towers for free, but pulled out; another donated several towers but the signal didn’t, in the end, cover the entire area.
Nonprofits and civic leaders seeking to close the digital divide in their communities should instead consider these major insights outlined in Warner’s report: