County officials and non-profit partners gathered on Feb. 4 to celebrate the County’s Digital Inclusion Initiative pilot program that provides high-speed broadband internet to low- and moderate-income families living at Arlington Mill Residences.
The 122-unit building, owned by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), is home to more than 150 school-age children and their families. Before the pilot, more than half lacked reliable internet access.
Now, through a three-year grant to APAH, the County is supplying broadband internet to residents leveraging the County’s fiber-optic network, ConnectArlington. Supporting organizations are providing refurbished laptops to program participants through in-kind contributions.
Arlington’s Digital Inclusion Initiative aims to close the homework gap for students, and improve digital equity for families, by providing access to online learning, job applications, healthcare and more.
“Statistics show that a lack of access to the internet disproportionately affects low-income populations, creating what is known as the digital divide,” County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. “This program is a significant step toward addressing this lack of equity, and ensuring that our students and families, regardless of income, can gain the access they need to succeed.”
Following the pilot’s completion in 2022, the County will continue its work to expand access and digital equity to facilities that serve low-income populations, including affordable housing, assisted living facilities, healthcare organizations and more.