CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Center for Digital Equity (CDE) at Queens University of Charlotte, formerly known as Digital Charlotte, has partnered with national non-profit EducationSuperHighway to further its goal of helping Mecklenburg County residents sign up for affordable home broadband internet service, purchase affordable technology, and get help with basic device and connectivity issues via the CDE’s Digital Navigator program. This newly forged partnership will allow both organizations to further their shared mission of closing the digital divide that affects an estimated 18 million households across the United States that have access to the internet but cannot afford to connect.
EducationSuperHighway works with cities, states, community partners, and trusted organizations to connect unconnected households to high-speed internet through the adoption of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and solutions for providing multi-dwelling units with managed Wi-Fi. The ACP is a new social benefit program created by the bipartisan Infrastructure Law that provides all income-eligible families $30 per month discounts on their internet for at least the next five years. Two-thirds of America’s unconnected households are still offline because they cannot afford an available internet connection. The broadband affordability gap disproportionately impacts low-income, Black, and Latinx Americans and those with less than a high school education. As an EducationSuperHighway community partner, CDE will help implement effective initiatives to bridge the gap, starting right here in Mecklenburg County.
“Having a partnership with EducationSuperHighway is critical to our goal of helping residents of Mecklenburg County adopt the internet,” said Bruce Clark, executive director of The Center for Digital Equity. “Their expertise and national experience have fast-tracked our ability to deliver on this mission.”
The CDE and EducationSuperHighway will work together to bridge the digital divide in Mecklenburg County by spreading awareness of the ACP and by training the Center’s 3-1-1 Digital Navigators and organizations represented in the Community Council to help households enroll in the ACP and get connected and use the internet. The programs will be delivered in close collaboration with the communities and residents the CDE is serving, with a particular focus on Charlotte’s six Corridors of Opportunity.
“Partnerships like this provide a blueprint for the collaboration needed to raise awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program and support eligible households to enroll,” said Evan Marwell, founder and CEO of EducationSuperHighway. “We are excited to be partnering with the Center for Digital Equity as they have the knowledge and connections needed to remove the awareness, trust, and enrollment barriers that have stood in the way of so many households taking advantage of federal broadband benefits and getting connected to the internet.”
The Center for Digital Equity is utilizing a collective impact strategy by bringing together residents, public, and private sector partners to create solutions that will close the digital divide in the Greater Charlotte metro area and make Mecklenburg County the most digitally equitable community in America. Partnerships like the one with EducationSuperHighway will make that possible.
For additional information about the Center for Digital Equity, the Digital Navigator Program, or upcoming community events, visit thecenterfordigitalequity.org. For media inquiries or interview requests, contact Jameka Whitten at 704.965.3297 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Center for Digital Equity (CDE)
The Center for Digital Equity at Queens University of Charlotte is the backbone organization for a collective impact strategy bringing together residents, public and private sector partners to co-create solutions allowing every resident to thrive in our modern culture. It recognizes that digital equity is necessary for a thriving society, democracy, and economy. Through awareness, partnerships, and action, it aims to empower organizations to deliver digital inclusion resources to the communities they serve. Ultimately, the CDE’s goal is to make Mecklenburg County the most digitally equitable community in America.
EducationSuperHighway is a national non-profit with the mission to close the digital divide for the 18 million households that have access to the Internet but can’t afford to connect. It focuses on America’s most unconnected communities, where more than 25% of people don’t have Internet.