FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2019
Contact: Susan Norton
Digital Inclusion Survey Launched – Public Invited to Brainstorm Fayetteville’s Digital Inclusion Planning Strategy
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.— The City’s Digital Inclusion Task Force invites members of the Fayetteville community to participate in our City’s digital inclusion planning process. Fayetteville is seeking input from residents via a survey regarding the availability of high-speed Internet service throughout the community and how residents access and use it. The survey information will be used to help the City develop and implement Fayetteville’s Digital Inclusion Plan.
Surveys are available in English and Spanish online at the City’s public engagement portal, Speak Up Fayetteville, and in paper format. Copies will also be mailed to a random sampling of households and made available during public outreach meetings, the first of which will be held January 24, 5:30-7:00 p.m., at the Fayetteville Public Library Walker Room. Snacks will be provided.
Those who participate in the survey will be invited to enter a drawing to win either a tablet or a laptop computer, thanks to contributions by some local Internet service providers.
It is vital that all City residents, regardless of income or education level, have access to affordable Internet service for education, healthcare, jobs training, and to apply for services, pay bills, and more. Mayor Lioneld Jordan wants to ensure that everyone has Internet access at the speed they need and at a price affordable to them. “As a progressive, forward-looking City, Fayetteville must ensure that all our residents are able to participate in and engage fully with all aspects of the community,” said Mayor Jordan. “The time to act to close the digital divide is now, and our City is committed to seeking out where inequities exist and finding ways to eliminate them.”
The survey was designed by University of Arkansas researchers with input from the Mayor’s Digital Inclusion Task Force. Distribution of the printed version to be mailed to households is possible thanks to funding from the University of Arkansas Communications Department. “We want to find out what residents have to tell us about access to the internet in their households, for example, whether or not students are able to complete their homework at the kitchen table,” said Michelle Gibeault, English and communication librarian at the University of Arkansas and Task Force chair.
“This survey will provide the City with a baseline of information about the accessibility of Internet services in the community, and allow us to identify the key barriers,” said Susan Norton, Director of Communications for the City of Fayetteville. “It is important that we get participation from as many of Fayetteville’s residents as we can, especially those whose Internet access is limited, so we can begin this process with the best possible information. We hope everyone will take the time to fill out this quick survey and engage with this project.”
To learn more about the City’s Digital Inclusion plan, visit www.fayetteville-ar.gov/digitalinclusion.