Fourteen municipal governments across the U.S., ranging in size from New York City to Provo, Utah, are featured in NDIA’s new roster of Digital Inclusion Trailblazers for 2020.

Released at a time when COVID-19 has forced many communities to confront their own digital divides, Digital Inclusion Trailblazers is “an honor roll of local government initiatives that promote digital literacy and broadband access for underserved residents.” NDIA created this honor roll provide examples and encouragement for community leaders seeking to provide similar support for their own community members.

Municipal and county government applied, and were approved, for the 2020 Trailblazers list based on meeting at least one of these six indicators of digital inclusion leadership:

  1. The local government has, or directly funds, at least one full-time staff dedicated to digital inclusion initiatives, policies and/or programs.
  2. The local government has a digital inclusion plan or is in the process of developing a plan.
  3. Representatives of the local government participate in a digital inclusion coalition.
  4. The local government has conducted or plans to conduct and publish survey research on Internet access and use by your residents.
  5. The local government directly funds community digital inclusion programming.
  6. The local government is taking steps to increase affordability of home broadband service.

“NDIA strongly believes that local communities are where real digital inclusion happens, and local government leadership is one of the keys to making it happen,” said NDIA Executive Director Angela Siefer in announcing the 2020 Digital Inclusion Trailblazers. “The COVID-19 crisis has made communities throughout the country painfully aware of the digital divides separating their citizens, and why those divides are damaging — to education, to economic opportunity and employment, to healthcare, and to civic and social connections. The 2020 Trailblazers are important models for effective action by local government leaders to promote digital inclusion and equity for all of their neighbors.”

NDIA first launched the Digital Inclusion Trailblazers list in 2016.  For 2020, we have updated the indicators with the help of a Working Group of our affiliates, and invited new applications from municipalities, counties and regional government entities. The application process remains open, and we will add more Trailblazers throughout the year.

NDIA is grateful for Google Fiber’s sponsorship of 2020 Digital Inclusion Trailblazers.