Digital Inclusion Plan

The City of Fayetteville is working to improve equitable access to digital services and programs. During 2018, the City will work with stakeholders and the public to identify existing conditions, goals, and recommendations for improvement.

Digital Inclusion

Background

  • Fayetteville has been recognized as a small city that rivals big cities in its digital practices. The City invests progressively in its digital backbone for delivery of services to citizens. Upgrading the City’s building network connectivity will improve our digital infrastructure for enhanced and efficient government operations and access to city services.
  • The City recently upgraded its City-Wide Institutional Network to increase broadband speeds and implement public Wi-Fi networks around select public facilities, particularly parks.
  • A new ordinance for Small Cell Facilities siting was passed by the City Council in November, 2018, to define internal procedures for working with providers as they implement the new small cell technologies in public rights of way and private property. To learn more about Small Cell installation in the City, click here. 
  • In addition to the infrastructure planning for high speed networks for city operations and services, an equally important goal is to enhance access for all citizens to affordable broadband services.

In Process

  • The City's digital equity strategy will comprise: digital inclusion for all residents for online learning, access to job banks, closing the homework gap, and increasing ways in which citizens can be civically engaged online.
  • The Digital Inclusion Plan will include public policy priorities for furthering digital equity in Fayetteville for consumers, citizens, students, job seekers, and entrepreneurs so we can advance digital equity in ways that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of residents
  • Working in partnership with the Fayetteville Public Library, Fayetteville Public Schools, the University of Arkansas, City residents, and industry partners, Fayetteville's Digital Inclusion Plan will build equity awareness and accommodations into all city departments and public services.
  • A draft of the plan is targeted for Spring 2019.

Public Survey

A survey has been prepared for City residents regarding the availability of high-speed Internet service throughout the community, including how they access and use it. Surveys are available in English and Spanish, online at the City’s public engagement portal, Speak Up Fayetteville, and in paper format. Copies were mailed to a random sampling of households early April and are available for pickup at the Fayetteville Public Library and during public outreach meetings. The survey will remain open through April 26.

Past Public Engagement Events 

The City is partnering with the Fayetteville Public Library to offer a series of public events on the topic of digital inclusion.  The following events were LiveCast from the library, and are available for viewing at the links below. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Fayetteville Public Library Walker Room
Advancing Digital Equity and Broadband Opportunities for Residents of Fayetteville

Joanne Hovis, CEO of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice, engaged with community members to discuss ways to raise awareness about the importance of digital equity and build strategies and opportunities for advancing high-speed broadband for all residents.  Joanne co-authored “The Emerging World of Broadband Public–Private Partnerships: A Business Strategy and Legal Guide,” which was published by the Benton Foundation. Click here to view the LiveCast.

Thursday August 30, 2018, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Fayetteville Public Library Walker Room
Digital Readiness Community Forum

Local expert, Dr. David Fredrick, will present  "The Future of Homework," a brief talk about how education will continue to require access to high-speed internet. In the last hour, attendees will brainstorm ideas for improving digital literacy in Fayetteville. Click here to view the LiveCast.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Fayetteville Public Library Walker Room
 "Internet Access—Quality and Affordability in Fayetteville"

A moderated discussion with representatives from three broadband providers— AT&T, Cox, and OzarksGo—on the state of internet service in Fayetteville. Click here to view the LiveCast.

Thursday, January 24, 2019, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Fayetteville Public Library Walker Room
401 W. Mountain Street
An introduction to brainstorm ideas for the City of Fayetteville's Digital Inclusion Strategy, and provide input via a recently launched public survey, available on the City's new public engagement platform, Speak Up Fayetteville.  

Thursday, March 21, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m
Fayetteville Public Library Walker Room
"Understanding 5G" and "The Future of Net Neutrality"

Sean Kinney and Michelle Jude Gibeault

Sean Kinney: Understanding 5G
5G, the newest generation of cellular technology, is currently available in a limited number of markets, but US mobile carriers have big plans for nationwide expansion. In this session, we will discuss how 5G is different from 4G, what types of use cases and applications 5G will support, and what end users can expect.

Sean Kinney serves as the Editor in Chief of RCR Wireless News, a digital publication founded in 1982 and focused on all things telecommunications. Kinney also acts the Managing Partner for Content at Arden Media, the parent company of RCR Wireless News, Enterprise IoT Insights and In-Building Tech.

Michelle Gibeault: The Future of Net Neutrality
The future of net neutrality protections in this country are still unclear and hopeful developments are on the horizon in 2019. This short overview will cover what net neutrality policies are and why these rules are so strongly linked to Internet freedom.

Michelle Gibeault is a teaching librarian at the University of Arkansas Libraries. She is a scholar and advocate for digital literacy and equity and is the chair of Mayor Jordan's Digital Inclusion Task Force.

Task Force Members

  • Michelle Gibeault, University of Arkansas Librarian
  • David Johnson, Fayetteville Public Library Director
  • Rob Qualls, Fayetteville Public Library Board Member
  • Kyle Smith, City Council Member, Ward 4
  • Mary Leverance, University of Arkansas Libraries
  • Keith Macedo, City of Fayetteville Director of IT
  • Susan Norton, City of Fayetteville Communications Director
  • Sean Kinney, Resident of Fayetteville and Editor, RCRWireless News