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.