Disconnected: Seven Lessons on Fixing the Digital Divide

Disconnected: Seven Lessons on Fixing the Digital Divide is a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City that focuses on broadband access, economic impact and solutions for communities to narrow the digital divide.


The Employer Laptop Challenge

Closing the digital divide was serious work before COVID-19. It is imperative now. The Kansas City Fed's Employer Laptop Challenge aims to get used laptops into the hands of people who need them. 

#LaptopHeroes share their stories

By Jennifer Wilding
September 02, 2020 | connections

Governments, businesses, banks offer advice for others who could donate too

Donated laptops meet critical new need

By Jennifer Wilding
June 10, 2020 | connections
Oklahoma library does a quick pivot to respond to COVID-19

Tips can help you become a #LaptopHero

By Jeremy Hegle
May 01, 2020 | connections
Early inquiries tell us what employers need to know to join the Employer Laptop Challenge

Get ready for the Employer Laptop Challenge

By Jeremy Hegle
March 30, 2020 | connections
Doing good has never been so needed.

Latest news from the world of broadband

By Jeremy Hegle
March 16, 2020 | connections
Events in D.C. come at critical time for broadband building and adoption.

Affordable broadband

  • Discount Internet Guidebook – NDIA and Public Knowledge

    The guidebook is a practical guide for digital inclusion practitioners, such as libraries and government agencies. It describes affordable broadband plans for low-income households offered by commercial internet providers, with information about who is eligible, how to apply and more. Click here to access the searchable list of discount offers. 
  • Broadband Now: What ISPs serve your ZIP code?

    BroadbandNow has identified 2670 internet service providers in the U.S., their coverage and download speeds. Enter your ZIP code and the website tells you which DSL, copper, cable, fiber-optic, fixed wireless and mobile broadband providers serve where you live. Scroll down for an “internet provider competition map” for your region, showing how many providers serve which census tracts.

CRA grantmaking and the digital divide

  • Closing the Digital Divide: A Framework for Meeting CRA ObligationsFederal Reserve Bank of Dallas, 2016

    The report provides financial institutions with an understanding of how broadband meets the “primary purpose” definition of the Community Reinvestment Act, a road map of best practices for closing the digital divide, and a list of tips for preparing their case for digital opportunity investments, among other elements.
  • Guide to CRA Grantmaking for Digital Equity and Economic Inclusion, National Collaborative for Digital Equity (NCDE), August 2018

    This brief guide to using the Community Reinvestment Act for digital inclusion contains examples of digital investments and tips on how to create effective CRA proposals aimed at narrowing the divide. NCDE updates the guide regularly.


Evaluation and Collaboration

  • Digital Inclusion: Outcomes Based Evaluation - Benton Foundation

    Outcomes-based evaluation provides a way for programs that promote digital inclusion to understand the impact of the services provided. This report describes the challenges facing community-based groups and others in using outcomes-based evaluation to measure the success of their digital inclusion programs and offers recommendations to address those shared barriers.
  • The Digital Inclusion Coalition Guidebook - NDIA

    NDIA developed The Digital Inclusion Coalition Guidebook to capture and share lessons learned from six existing coalitions. The guidebook offers advice for starting and building a coalition and on the types of things that digital inclusion coalitions typically do.


Recycling electronics

  • Certified Electronics Recyclers – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    There are two certification standards for electronics recyclers—the eStewards® Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment© and the R2-Certified Recycling Standard for Electronics Recyclers. This site offers information about both programs, and an interactive map of where recyclers are located and what services they offer.

    Find the nearest Microsoft Registered Refurbishers here


Rural Broadband

  • Becoming Broadband Ready: A Toolkit for Communities, Next Century Cities, January 2019

    Next Century Cities is a nonprofit membership organization founded to support communities and elected officials in providing broadband. It offers a toolkit that covers topics such as: building a community movement; establishing policies and procedures such as “dig once” and “simplified permitting;” creating a digital inclusion plan; identifying legislative and regulatory barriers; exploring connectivity options such as co-ops or open access networks; exploring financing options; and more. The toolkit includes real-life examples and a helpful glossary and checklist.
  • Community Network Map – Institute for Local Self-Reliance

    The interactive map includes more than 800 communities. It tracks a variety of ways in which local governments have invested in wired telecommunications networks as well as states with laws that discourage such approaches. The map can be configured for a lot of detail, or to focus on just one element, such as dark fiber, gigabit speeds, citywide fiber, etc.
  • Broadband Scorecard Report – R Street

    Companies that want to deploy broadband must deal with regulatory barriers imposed by government. Much of the regulation comes from the Federal Communications Commission, but state and local governments also play a role. This 2018 study evaluates all 50 states and assigns each a score based on how conducive their laws are to broadband deployment.