Mayor Carlo DeMaria is pleased to announce that the City of Everett has partnered with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to address the digital divide in the community.
Together, the City and MAPC are working to develop a Digital Access and Equity Plan to enhance the digital capacity throughout the City.
“I want to ensure that the entire Everett community has digital access,” said Mayor DeMaria. “By partnering with MAPC, the City of Everett will be able to address the digital divide in the community. I look forward to seeing the results of the assessment and developing an action plan for next steps.”
City Councilor Stephanie Martins, Superintendent Priya Tahiliani, and members of the Administration met with MAPC to discuss the beginning steps in developing the Digital Access and Equity Plan. Factors that will influence the plan include access to affordable, high speed, and reliable internet, availability of computing devices, and digital literacy.
“The internet is where we communicate, access important information, pay our bills, check the news, receive our education, and much more these days. Access to quality internet service is a matter of public health,” said Councilor Martins. “Having a connection that is inferior, congested, and constantly disrupted creates a digital divide when compared to other wealthier communities and leaves our residents behind. For the past two months, I have challenged our providers to step up the delivery of their services to our residents. I want to thank Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the Depart of Communications for supporting the efforts to mitigate Everett’s Digital Divide by retaining the MAPC to develop a Digital Access and Equity Plan. I am extremely excited to be a part of this work, along with the Department of Communications, Everett Public Schools, and community partners, and look forward to the next steps which will include an extensive and inclusive community needs assessment.”
“I thank the City for including the EPS in its discussions and planning surrounding this critical issue,” said Superintendent Tahiliani. “Everett is taking a comprehensive and ambitious approach to digital access and equity, as evidenced by the fantastic decision to partner with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The district looks forward to seeing this partnership develop a strong and sustainable plan that will benefit our students for many years into the future.”
Through the Federal Economic Development Administration Disaster Mitigation and Recovery Grant, MAPC will begin the process to address the challenges of internet access in Everett. The City of Everett looks forward to unveiling a clear strategy around providing fast, reliable, and affordable internet service to its residents and businesses.
According to MACP, “Everett is set to become a leader within the Commonwealth by developing a plan that is scaled to fit the capacity of municipal staff while leveraging a strong resource network of local, state, and federal resources that cross the public, private, educational, and nonprofit sectors.”
The next step is to create a working group to determine needs and issues throughout the community. Everett Haitian Community Center, La Communidad, Cambridge Health Alliance in partnership with Teens in Everett Against Substance Abuse, Eliot Family Resource Center, and our local state leaders, State Senator Sal DiDomenico and State Representative Joe McGonagle, have been invited to participate.
MAPC anticipates the Digital Access and Equity Plan to be completed by Summer 2021.