CLEVELAND – Bridging the digital divide in Ohio has been slow to arrive, especially in Cleveland.
âI think the pandemic really shows the need,â said Bryan Mauk, chief innovation officer for PC’s for People.
Mauk and his team help provide computers, internet access, and digital literacy support to those in need.
âOver the past 18 months, we have distributed computers and the Internet to serve 25,000 people in Cleveland and over 50% of them have never owned a computer before in their life or home,â a- he declared.
Mauck said most of these households are in pockets of the city that have not been invested.
Even if they are connected, the quality of their Internet access is outdated, Mauck said. He compared the speed to what we saw in the 90s and early 2000s. He said it was time for providers to step up and strengthen their infrastructure as well.
“We are maybe five to ten years ahead of consumption when the infrastructure is maybe 10 years behind where it should be,” he said.
Mauk believes the city’s $ 20 million investment in building stronger broadband infrastructure is a game-changer. The city is ready to seek suppliers to do the work and consultants to help educate the city’s residents. Mauck said outreach will be key to ensuring households are open to a new mode of connectivity.
“There are so many examples of how people can be happier, healthier and more economically prosperous through this type of infrastructure bill,” Mauck said.
In addition to the $ 20 million allowance, the city says it will need help to complete the job.