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The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) has rolled out its Municipal Digital Equity Planning program, which provides an opportunity for cities and towns to access free consultant services to undertake digital equity planning work on a municipal or multi-town/regional basis.

Digital equity refers to ensuring that residents have access to broadband services (including it being affordable and sufficient bandwidth), access to devices, and digital literacy. The FRCOG strongly encourages municipalities to participate in digital equity planning so that Franklin County is in the best position possible to access implementation resources.

Details

The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) recently launched the Massachusetts Statewide Digital Equity Survey to better understand the needs of Massachusetts residents regarding internet access and digital equity. Information from this survey will aid the development of a Massachusetts Digital Equity Plan. To follow the Statewide Digital Equity Planning process, please visit the MBI website.

(Simultaneously, the FRCOG is working directly with many communities across Franklin County on developing local and regional Digital Equity Plans. Responses from the survey will also be used to develop these local and regional plans.)

Survey findings will inform the investment of historic funding to provide improved connectivity for all residents of Massachusetts, increasing access to education, healthcare, civic engagement, economic, and other opportunities. Make sure your voice is heard and that the Commonwealth’s plan and our Franklin County plans reflect the needs in our communities.

The survey will take about 5 minutes to complete. Please complete the survey and share the link with your friends, colleagues, and community members so they may do the same.

Take the Survey

“Digital equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy and economy. Digital equity is necessary for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning and access to essential services.”

– National Digital Inclusion Alliance

Current Projects

The FRCOG is a pre-qualified consultant to do the work in Franklin County, as are other consultants. The MBI will directly fund these consultant services to either conduct a planning charrette (with corresponding report) or develop a full Digital Equity Plan.

FRCOG has been selected to be the consultants for the following Digital Equity Plan projects:

  • Town of Montague, as part of the Town of Montague’s comprehensive plan update.
  • Town of Whately, to be undertaken as part of the Town of Whately’s comprehensive plan visioning update.
  • Regional Plan for Franklin County, for the towns of Northfield, Charlemont, Colrain and Orange.
Staff
Jessica Atwood

Jessica Atwood

Economic Development Program Manager

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Ted Harvey

Ted Harvey

Senior Economic Development Planner

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Resources

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