How Kids First Chicago Was a Critical Support to the City of Chicago’s First Comprehensive Internet-Access Program, Providing Free Internet to Families Who Need It the Most.
Our report, Digital Equity in Education in the Coronavirus Era, , not only helped to define the scope of the digital divide in Chicago, but it also proposed 5 key recommendations.
01 | Establish a Community-Led Internet Service Subsidy Program to target Chicago’s most under-served communities.
02 | Expand WiFi hot-spot lending programs at schools and through community organizations.
03 | Partner with Internet Service Providers (ISP) and the philanthropic community to establish WiFi “SuperSpots” in key communities.
04| Encourage ISPs to expand their low-cost broadband service offers.
05 | Pilot promising and innovative ideas to leverage city assets to expand WiFi coverage to communities in need.
From there we worked directly with the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and philanthropic partners to find implementable solutions to the digital divide.
On Thursday, June 25, 2020, Mayor Lightfoot announced Chicago Connected, a public-private partnership aiming to close Chicago’s digital divide and ensure every eligible student has access to high speed internet.
In launching Chicago Connected, the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and the city's philanthropic community have made a historic commitment to eliminating internet access as a barrier to digital learning.
Chicago Connected is the most comprehensive effort undertaken by any city to connect its students to the internet and serves as a model for other cities to follow in permanently closing the digital divide.