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About

Digital Marin

The Digital Marin Project

The internet is a fundamental element of our lives. From our economy to education, it provides us with access to opportunities and critical services. While residents in affluent areas have access to high-speed internet, Marin has neighborhoods where more than 40% of the families do not have it, and even fewer of those families have a computer.

Recent events underscore Marin’s need to eliminate internet access inequities and bridge the digital divide. Students need reliable home connections for distance learning. Families require online access to information and support services. Our businesses and growing tele-workforce demand more from the providers to remain competitive.

High speed internet has become the equivalent of water and electricity. Digital Marin is an effort to close the divide so all residents and businesses have fast, equitable, and affordable internet access and can take advantage of all on-line opportunities and services.

Background

Digital infrastructure plans are a best practice for local governments. Network assets like fiberoptic cables, radio towers, and easements can take years to be put in place. By working together with multiple jurisdictions, and the communities they support, we discover opportunities for faster delivery and greater cost savings. A 2019 Grand Jury Report called for Marin to accelerate efforts to establish a comprehensive plan.

That year Marin County Information Service and Technology (IST) received funding for a project to develop a Digital Infrastructure Strategic Plan. The definition of “Digital Infrastructure” is the data, software apps, and physical infrastructure working together to provide access, information, and online services to stakeholders. The goal of the project is to better understand the digital needs and vision of our residents, communities, schools, public agencies, and business sectors to develop a roadmap to achieve them where:

  • Everyone has access to high speed internet and knows how to use it;
  • Public agencies, non-profits, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) share data, where appropriate, to better serve our communities;
  • Opportunities are highlighted for more efficient, transparent, and customer-oriented cross-jurisdictional and cross-sector service delivery; and
  • Marin has a resilient information network that can survive a disaster.

Objectives of the Plan include encouraging collaboration and cooperation for digital inclusion efforts and innovative connectivity solutions in communities most impacted by the digital divide. The project, named “Digital Marin,” is taking an approach that is:

  • Inclusive and collaborative, involving residents, businesses, public agencies, NGOs, and education;
  • Community driven to address what communities say is important; and
  • Forward thinking with short-term wins and long-term digital goals.

Digital Equity

Digital equity refers to whether people can access and effectively use the technology necessary to participate in modern society. Another phrase, “digital inclusion,” denotes efforts to remedy deficits in digital equity. Simply put, digital equity is what cities and states want, and digital inclusion is the work they and their partners are doing to create it.  -- Zack Quaintance

Read Zack's full article The Quest for Digital Equity on the Government Technology Magazine website.

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