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Community Connect Fair at Taste of Soul Aims to Bridge Digital Divide
By Sentinel News Service
Published October 15, 2009

Get Connected! Community Connect Fair at Taste of Soul Aims to Bridge Digital Divide among Low-Income Residents

Free Family-Friendly Event Targets 62% Percent of African Americans in Los Angeles County without Broadband at Home

On October 17, Get Connected!, a new public awareness program launched by the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) to close the Digital Divide by breaking down barriers to high-speed Internet access, will join the 4th annual Taste of Soul Los Angeles for a Community Connect Fair to help the 58% of Los Angeles residents without broadband Get Connected!

“Our goal is to close the Digital Divide by breaking down barriers to high-speed Internet access and encouraging all Californians to Get Connected!,” said Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO of California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF.) “By providing a hands-on, in-person interactive event to demonstrate the benefits of using broadband, we hope to boost broadband adoption in our community.”

According to a 2009 report by the Public Policy Institute of California, Los Angeles County moved from the least connected region within the state (at 48%) up to the fourth (at 58%.) Latinos, low-income residents, Asians and people with disabilities increased their connectivity by an average 7.5% among the groups surveyed, and African Americans lost some traction, dropping from 66% of the population having broadband connectivity at home to 62% in the past year.

“If you have access to high-speed connectivity, you understand its value: in applying for a job, in accessing friends on a social network, in obtaining medical information, paying a bill or accessing government services. We almost take it for granted,” continued McPeak. “Now imagine not having that access. Community Connect Fairs are one of the key pillars of Get Connected! that we hope will help break down the key barriers to adoption: access, application, affordability, accessibility and assistance, and help increase broadband adoption throughout the state.”

The statewide Get Connected! effort is aimed at disadvantaged and rural communities, as well as low-income Latinos, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and non-Hispanic whites who lag behind in accessing the social, information and economic benefits of high-speed, broadband connectivity.

The Community Connect Fair is working with the Taste of Soul and local businesses who have championed the region’s effort to close the Digital Divide. Champions contribute expertise and resources and also donate giveaway items such as computers that will be raffled off on the day of the event. Visitors to the Get Connected! booth can enter a drawing for a chance to win a free computer and get free computer and Internet instruction aboard the eBus.

For more information about Get Connected! visit: www.getconnectedtoday.com.

The mission of the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) is to close the Digital Divide and ensure that California is a global leader in the use of broadband technology (high-speed access to the Internet). The California Public Utilities Commission directed the establishment of CETF in approving the mergers of SBC-AT&T and Verizon-MCI in 2005. AT&T and Verizon are contributing a total of $60 million in seed capital to advance broadband deployment and adoption. CETF is a non-profit public-benefit corporation. For more information: www.cetfund.org or call (415) 744-CETF.

Get Connected! is a statewide public awareness program, first unveiled in Los Angeles County, that educates targeted populations about the benefits of broadband connectivity – high speed Internet. The program works closely with schools, community-based organizations, and individuals to break down barriers, address misperceptions and close the Digital Divide that currently exists in California. The program aims to increase awareness of the value of broadband through: media outreach, TV and radio commercials, a multiple language Web portal for new users, and Community Connect Fairs. The program also includes Champions for Access, which are organizations that sponsor and fund Get Connected! initiatives.


Categories: Local

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