High-speed broadband internet is a critical service needed for almost every aspect of our lives – from education, employment, and healthcare to civic and social engagement. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of reliable connectivity when homes were transformed into virtual learning, telework, and healthcare spaces, and businesses relied on online sales. The global crisis shined a spotlight on and exacerbated many of our communities’ inequities. In Arlington, one out of every six households do not have fixed broadband internet access, mostly impacting low-income households, older adults, and persons of color. Lack of broadband access puts many at a major disadvantage, hindering important tasks, such as completing virtual learning or homework, researching and applying for jobs, accessing public services, accessing healthcare information and attending telehealth visits, accessing news and emergency alerts, and paying bills.
Vision and Principles
Digital Equity is an enterprise initiative between the Department of Community Planning, Housing, and Development, Department of Technology Services, and Arlington Public Libraries. Our vision is for all Arlington residents to have affordable, reliable access to high-speed broadband internet and the necessary devices and technology skills to fully participate in the community and economy. Our work is currently guided by the following four principles:
Connectivity: The County will invest in infrastructure to support lower cost connectivity for affordable housing residents.
Access: All residents can access the internet and cost is not a barrier.
Education & Training: Residents have the appropriate skills necessary to be successful on the internet.
Program Sustainability & Community Capacity: Ensure strategies are sustainable and the community is engaged on the issue.