Tackling the Digital Divide in the Pacific Northwest
As the headquarters for a number of technology industry pioneers, Seattle has a thriving digital economy. But even in this high-tech hub, 93,000 residents – or 15 percent of the city’s population – don’t subscribe to the Internet.
And across the state of Washington and the wider Pacific Northwest, there are still rural communities that lack access to adequate broadband. The problem is particularly acute for many Native American communities, including the Makah, Quinault and other tribes of the Olympic Peninsula and the Spokane and Colville Federated Tribes east of the Cascade Mountains.
From urban centers such as Seattle and Portland, Ore., to rural towns such as Toledo, Wash., civic leaders, industry officials and community activists are making progress in narrowing the digital divide. But the job is not done. That’s the picture that emerged from a daylong regional broadband workshop that NTIA hosted in partnership with the non-profit Next Century Cities in Seattle this week.
The event was the sixth in an ongoing series of regional workshops that NTIA is organizing as part of our BroadbandUSA program, which provides free hands-on technical assistance, toolkits, guides, webinars and other support to help communities expand local broadband deployment and adoption.