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Digital Inclusion and Broadband Strategy

Mayor’s Smart City Vision for an Inclusive City 
“Ensure all residents, businesses, and organizations can participate in and benefit from the prosperity and culture of innovation in Silicon Valley.”

“Broaden access to basic digital infrastructure to all residents, especially our youth, through enabling free or low cost, high-speed, 1 gigabit or faster broadband service in several low-income communities, and increasing access to hardware, including tablets and laptops, for low-income students.” 

Public Support 
Organizations such as the Knight Foundation has supported with funding to bridge the Digital Divide.  

“Bridging the Digital Divide from People Acting in Community Together (PACT): training low-income residents to use the Internet and online tools to address community challenges, such as public safety or elder health care services. The project involves leadership training, peer-to-peer training and the establishment of mobile community access hubs.”

Digital Inclusion and Broadband Strategy 
In January 27,2017, Kip Harkness, Deputy City Manager, City Manager’s Office who leads the Office of Civic Innovation and Digital Strategy, articulated the Digital Inclusion and Broadband Strategy.

“Approximately 100,000 residents in the City are not connected to the internet at home. This project answers the question "What is the best use of existing and new city and non-city resources to increase digital inclusion for underserved San José community segments? Implementation of this strategy promotes equity and improves educational outcomes, promotes job acquisition and advancement, improves mental and physical health options, and allows businesses to be more efficient and effective.”

Broadband Strategy
“To support the City’s Smart City Vision and goals, a robust citywide public and private sector digital infrastructure is required. This project assesses the City’s digital infrastructure (assets that can provide internet service and promote availability of affordable broadband internet access). This assessment identifies where current market forces and technologies meet the expectations of access, affordability, adoption, and service quality and where there are gaps and opportunities for strategic interventions to close these gaps. Implementation of this strategy drives improvements in broadband speeds, pricing, 
coverage, and quality and builds the digital infrastructure to increase digital inclusion, safety, user-friendliness and other Smart City goals.” Source 

Request for Proposal 
The City released a Request for Proposal in February, 2017, whereby the City retains the consulting services of Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) to help develop the strategy per the City’s requirements.

“This project develops a citywide strategy to achieve the goals of:

  • Improving the City's existing digital infrastructure to support San Jose's Smart City Vision and improve digital inclusion;
  • Understanding options to improve residential and business broadband internet choices,
  • quality and pricing; and 
  • Promoting availability of gigabit level broadband internet to support economic development
  • and inclusion.”

Digital Equity 
Yet, digital equity remains a challenge to the success, as described by Dolan Beckel, San José City Manager’s Office of Digital Inclusion and Broadband Strategy. In this blog, staff explained that San José’s income inequality gap remains one of the highest in the nations, so “the key driver that influences the digital divide is affordability.”  

The City urges the need to: 

  • Prioritize innovation and inclusion
  • A focus on Digital Inclusion and Digital Infrastructure
  • Partnership for Access, Affordability, and Adoption.

Digital Inclusion Pilot - East Side Union High School District 
“The City of San José is also partnering with the East Side Union High School District to pilot the deployment of free outdoor Wi-Fi for students, their families, and other members of the community. The pilot schools have sufficient devices for students and will provide additional equipment for any households unable to access the Wi-Fi. The students will become the “digital inclusion force” that will provide better access, affordability, literacy, and adoption for households on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

Downtown Broadband - Facebook Terragraph WiFi Network
City of San José and Facebook Connectivity Lab to Partner on Gigabit-Speed Distribution Network for High-Speed WiFi Project.  “Terragraph is a Facebook Connectivity Lab project that seeks to bring fast, reliable and inexpensive connectivity to dense urban areas and we are excited to have the City of San José as our first partner to showcase this technology later this year.” 

"Facebook’s Terragraph wireless system utilizes distribution nodes to connect high-speed fiber, and send it to other distribution nodes throughout the downtown area using 60 GHz (also known as “V-band”)… the Terragraph system is optimized for high volume, low cost production. Read about the technical details of the Terragraph System.” 



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