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A CTCNet Affiliate

Digital Access is a volunteer project helping support technology access & literacy efforts in the Twin Cities
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Timeline: Minneapolis Digital Inclusion Outreach Efforts

"A growing gap threatens to separate the techno-haves from the have-nots. To some change agents, closing this digital divide is not about providing computer access or teaching computer skills: It's about fundamental social change."

"Across the Great Divide"
— Sara Terry, FastCompany

Digital Inclusion: A Community Technology Agenda for the City of Minneapolis
(download community benefits PDF)

> Everyone connected, everyone informed
> Transparent secure systems protecting everyone’s privacy
> Technology literacy training for all
> “Get on line” campaign
> Building economic development through digital access
> Digital access for civic engagement and accessible government
> Creating local content for engagement and information

November 2004- July 2005
The Community Computer Access Network (C-CAN) participates in City-sponsored stakeholder meetings about the Minneapolis IP/Broadband initiative, along with representatives from school, library, public housing and park boards.

August 2005
The Digital Access & Equity Campaign is created. Campaign partners include: The Community Computer Access Network, the Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP AmeriCorps) and the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability.

September 2005
The campaign receives funding by the MSNet Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation and begins community outreach efforts.

October 2005- May 2006
Campaign partners, with support from CTEP AmeriCorps members, facilitate community outreach efforts, and host 20+ roundtable meetings. Over this 8-month period, meeting attendance averages 15-20 participants. DigitalAccess.org is re-launched as a “Wireless Minneapolis” resource website, and over 100 new subscribers sign-up to receive the C-CAN listserv. In order to reach “offline” and new immigrant residents, AmeriCorps members translate a “community technology needs” survey into four languages and distribute copies through local social service agencies and at community meetings.

January - May 2006
The City of Minneapolis sponsors a series of 6 community meetings to discuss the Wireless Initiative. Representatives from the Campaign present Digital Inclusion information at each meeting and collect survey data from attendees.

February 2006
Campaign leaders and community technology advocates, including community technology centers’ staff and volunteers, testify at a City Council hearing on the wireless initiative. As a result of this testimony, Council amends the RFP language to require that vendors address Digital Inclusion through a formal and binding community benefits agreement. To ensure community engagement, Council directs city staff to assemble a Task Force to review public comment and community input on this issue.

March-April 2006
The Wireless Minneapolis Digital Inclusion Task Force is convened to ensure broad stakeholder representation. Twenty-nine Task Force members review community coalition recommendations, collect and review correspondence and emails received by the City on this issue, and make recommendations to City staff regarding community benefits requirements.

C-CAN, working with the Neighborhood Revitalization Project, identifies two underserved neighborhoods in which to launch wireless networks in conjunction with vendor trials. City staff supports the selection of these neighborhoods, and meets with neighborhood agencies to plan pilot projects.

May 2006
The Digital Access + Equity Campaign changes it’s name to “The Digital Inclusion Coalition”. With support from the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, the coalition releases their community benefits recommendations.

June 2006
Wireless pilot projects go “live” in both North and South Minneapolis neighborhoods: launch events are coordinated by CTEP AmeriCorps members, the City, and community agencies. Over 150 residents attend launch events. By late summer, 458 “community technology needs” surveys have been collected at community events and posted to the website.

July 2006
The Task Force releases their final community benefits report, incorporating many of the Coalitions’ recommendations. These recommendations form the basis of the community benefits agreement that vendors are required to respond to in their “best and final offers” in August 2006.

August 2006
The City enters into final negotiations with the two finalist vendors. The Task Force coordinator works closely with City’s negotiation team to ensure CBA issues are addressed in vendor selection. US Internet is selected to provide wireless service to the City of Minneapolis.

September 2006
City Council reviews and approves the Wireless Minneapolis contract terms including a community benefits agreement, agreed to by the vendor and the City during negotiations. City Council directs staff (BIS) to finalize the contract with US Internet.

October 2006
The Digital Inclusion Task Force begins work on selecting a community foundation to manage the newly created “Digital Inclusion Fund”. The Task Force will establish fund guidelines and determine community advisory board makeup over the next several months.


WiFi is Coming!
A *Quicktime Movie by CTEP AmeriCorps Members
(14MB file)

(*Download Quicktime Player if you don't have it installed!)

City of Minneapolis Website:
Wireless Minneapolis