FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2018
Contact: Susan Norton
Fayetteville’s Digital Inclusion Task Force Seeks Input for Focus Groups
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
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — As part of its planning efforts, the City of Fayetteville is working to improve equitable access to digital services and programs. To that end, Mayor Lioneld Jordan has convened a task force to study existing conditions, identify goals, and offer recommendations for the City’s digital equity strategy. The task force is seeking input from residents who can help align partnerships, identify opportunities for collaboration, and guide program implementation.
The task force will begin by surveying residents who are interested in participating in focus groups. Entrepreneurs, students and scholars (of all ages), Lifeline subscribers, retirees, teachers, technical experts, broadband providers, communications media, and residents interested in the quality and distribution of internet access are encouraged to complete a survey via the City’s website. Survey participants will be asked to identify areas of interest as they relate to broadband equity. The task force will then form focus groups to study issues across the spectrum of digital inclusion. These topics will be introduced over time to the broader community. All community members will be asked to participate, voice interests via multiple public engagement workshops and surveys, and attend presentations by guest speakers.
Mayor Jordan is excited to begin this work and appreciates community members, focus groups, and task force members who will lead this effort. “I expect this Digital Inclusion Planning process to cover a number of separate but related initiatives under the digital equity umbrella. We will follow best practices of communities around the globe as we define Fayetteville’s Digital Inclusion Plan. The Digital Inclusion Plan will include public policy priorities for furthering digital equity in Fayetteville for consumers, citizens, students, job seekers, and entrepreneurs so that we can advance digital equity in ways that will allow us to improve the lives of residents.”
Digital Inclusion Task Force:
Michelle Gibeault, English & Communication Librarian, University of Arkansas Libraries
David Johnson, Director, Fayetteville Public Library
Rob Qualls, Board Member, Fayetteville Public Library
Eric Hatch, Director of Information Systems and Technology, Fayetteville Public Schools
Kyle Smith, City Council Member, Ward 4
Keith Macedo, Director of IT, City of Fayetteville
Susan Norton, Communications Director, City of Fayetteville
Peter Nierengarten, Sustainability and Resilience Director, City of Fayetteville