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Madison City Council Passed Digital Divide Funding In Budget

November 6, 2013

I failed to find any reports on local news sites today about the matter of the amendment to the Madison city budget concerning funds to deal with the digital divide.  Even the Wisconsin State Journal failed to mention the matter in their rather abbreviated coverage of the council meeting which passed the budget Tuesday night.  As such this evening I made contact with the author of the amendment; the one who has moved the dialogue on this matter to the point many are now engaged.

I was very pleased to learn from Alderperson Scott Resnick the amendment passed unanimously.  The digital divide amendment called for $150,000 to expand internet service to a  low-income neighborhood in Madison.  That there was no resistance to this idea speaks well for this city.

Poverty in this city is something we often talk about, but too often not enough is done.  I think this is one very concrete example of how we can make a positive difference at not only the digital divide, but also the economic divide.  When the project is running it will allow for people to be more proficient with internet use, and ensure job searches and classroom lessons can be more easily completed.

The bulk of the money passed by the council will go to infrastructure.  Some funds may include subsidized payments to commercial providers; cost sharing with other government agencies or social service providers; grant matching funds or in-kind costs; public outreach efforts; or program set up costs.  At the time of the council meeting no neighborhood in Madison had yet been selected for the pilot program.

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