Digital Equity through Planning and Partnerships

Amber Blum & Zuzana Duffy
Posted 2024-05-29

Published by Maine Town & City in April, 2024. 

This article is the second in a series by Island Institute exploring the topic of digital equity in relation to Maine’s municipalities.

“I went to fill my prescription, but my pharmacist said I needed to make an online profile first.”

“I wanted to get a commercial driver’s license, but the training was online, and I don’t have a computer.”

“I wanted to attend the housing committee meeting, but I couldn’t find childcare in time.”

These seemingly unrelated insights have one thing in common: the need for digital equity. Maine often prides itself on doing things its own way. We’re the state where tourists come to get away from the fast paced 21st century world. This ethos has existed for centuries, but here in 2024, even Maine can’t escape how ubiquitous digital technology has become. Connectivity is a necessity, not a luxury. Municipalities are encouraged to incorporate broadband and digital equity goals into their comprehensive plans. But not every municipality has the budget, cultural acceptance, and capacity to implement these goals. Anchor institutions that are already addressing digital access and skills gaps, are doing this work on the local level through partnerships and people who know their communities well.

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