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Bridging the Digital Divide: Improving Affordability and Access of Internet Services





Role

Project Lead and Lead User Researcher



Challenge Statement

How might we help municipal governments across the US understand the internet experience of residents and improve adoption of the Affordable Connectivity Program, a FCC program that helps low income household pay for internet service?



Approach
  1. Partnered with UX writer to bring together stakeholders in one municipal government including CIO, Director of Human Services, Director of Policy and Communications, and Director of Children and Youth to host a workshop to: (1) Understand the problem space, what is already known about resident groups, what is assumed, and what is unknown, (2) draft an initial human-centered problem statement.

  2. Led team through an iterative process to develop, refine, and finalize a survey item bank and communications toolkit to assess the internet experience of residents and provide information about the Affordable Connectivity Program.

  3. Created an omni-channel approach to deploying the survey and toolkit simultaneously with a special emphasis on using existing channels for reaching un- or under-served residents in non-digital formats.



Impact

The iterative development process resulted in a final product developed for municipal governments by municipal governments and informed by industry best practices. The survey item bank contains a suggested core set of questions as well as optional questions to provide deeper insight into residents' internet experience. The well-designed toolkit not only presents the nuts and bolts of how to implement the program in a clear and effective way, it also tackles big issues future governments might face when launching similar initiatives, including resource capacity, sustainability, and collaborating with external partners.


More globally, this project created an approach to help municipal governments across the US collect, analyze, and interpret the internet experience of residents and improve adoption of the Affordable Connectivity Program.

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