COVID-19 RESPONSE PLAN
Connected Nation recognizes that challenges faced by communities in light of the COVID-19 crisis in keeping its residents connected to the internet. Accordingly CN offers these recommendations that are designed to help communities rapidly address the challenges of providing internet access and devices to vulnerable communities.
There are four primary challenges that need to be addressed:
- Availability: Rural areas lack the internet connectivity necessary to participate in online educational activities.
- Affordability: Households with internet service available to them may struggle to afford the monthly cost of service or the initial installation cost of connecting to an existing network.
- Devices: Some households do not have an adequate number or type of internet-enabled devices to allow their students to learn from home.
- Training: Ensuring new broadband adopters have access to online training – in particular internet safety training.
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The following are step-by-step strategies communities can implement in the short term to address connectivity challenges for residents and businesses.
This effort would be the spear point for all local connectivity efforts and builds upon the Keep Americans Connected campaign launched by the Federal Communications Commission. The federal campaign was recently extended through June 30. The Campaign would be led by a local connectivity champion to oversee the efforts. This champion should be in the public sector or a community volunteer that is well connected in the community and can bring stakeholders together to address these issues. The champion would convene a small taskforce to provide subject matter expertise and connections to various stakeholder groups in the community. The Campaign should create and maintain a central and singular resource (website) for sharing information regarding resources in the community.