The Digital Inclusion Fund resulted from two years of work by community advocates. These provisions were secured as part of a Community Benefits Agreement, a relatively new community development tool to ensure that publicly-financed projects benefit the entire community. The agreements are designed to secure equitable outcomes when zoning incentives and public subsidies are used to attracted residential, commercial ,and industrial development. Common provisions include living wage requirements, minority contracting, transit integration, environmental cleanup, and other strategies to help lift neighborhood residents out of poverty when providing economic benefits to private interests.
As a result of the Digital Inclusion Community Benefits Agreement, wireless vendor U.S. Internet Wireless will:
- comply with the City's Living Wage Ordinance
- prohibit redlining
- develop up to 90 location-based Community Log-In Sites, with multilingual functionality
- provide templates for neighborhood organizations to public information
- provide free network access services for Community Technology Centers and train staff and volunteers to help with use education, activation, installation, and service sign up
- sponsor an annual fundraising event and provide employee volunteers in support of digital inclusion efforts
The education, outreach, community organizing, and work with the City of Minneapolis on behalf of the CBA effort came from Digital Access, with help from AmeriCorps members serving within the Community Technology Emplowerment Project. Alliance for Metropolitan Stability provided technical support.