Broadband and Digital Equity

Three children looking at tablet computers

Bridging the Digital Divide

In partnership with KC Rising and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, MARC is collaborating with local governments, businesses, civic leaders and community partners to develop the Kansas City Regional Digital Equity Action Strategy. The effort is important to identify the Kansas City region’s needs as the two states develop their plans for broadband infrastructure and digital equity. The planning work is resulting in a strategy for broadband and digital equity via short- and long-term investments that achieve the goal of providing all households in the region with high-quality and affordable access to broadband.

The planning effort involves the following:

  • Coordinating work with key community partners.
  • Inventory and engagement of community organizations.
  • Business and civic engagement.
  • Building strategic relationships with state broadband offices.
  • Outreach to local governments, libraries and educational institutions.
  • Identifying areas where broadband infrastructure investments are needed.
  • Review of best practice research and learning about emerging technologies.

The work has involved outreach to and built on groups that were involved in digital equity previously and engaged new participants. The outreach has involved:

  • Advisory group meetings.
  • Topic-based working groups, such as broadband infrastructure, community engagement, and research and technological innovations.
  • Workshops focused on issues, barriers, potential solutions and implementation projects.

Action steps

The Kansas City Regional Digital Equity Strategy Action Plan includes nine sections:

  • Purpose of the report, vision and regional goals
  • Importance of addressing the digital divide
  • Status of digital access and adoption
  • Community engagement process
  • Barriers to access and adoption
  • Special populations
  • Status of institutions addressing barriers and needs
  • Inventory of community organizations providing support
  • Recommendations and next steps

Work is underway on a report that focuses on broadband infrastructure and neighborhoods and communities that are unserved or underserved with adequate, reliable internet services. The report, which looks at the region’s infrastructure using multiple data and mapping resources, will be available soon.