Lit Communities is pleased to announce that on July 22, 2019 Chief Strategy Officer, Rene Gonzalez, was elected to the Steering Committee of the Digital Inclusion Alliance of San Antonio, TX (the DIASA or the Alliance). The DIASA was established in 2016 as a “public and private coalition dedicated to advancing digital inclusion opportunities to foster educational attainment, competitive employment, financial prosperity, and greater community engagement for all San Antonio residents.” The Alliance’s membership is comprised of over 30 organizations and 60 members from the public, private, non-profit and educational sectors who are striving to foster digital inclusion and create digital equity in San Antonio. Rene will join new and existing Steering Committee members to address the initial objectives of the Alliance which include: integrating digital inclusion into the City of San Antonio’s Economic Development Plan, increasing access and adoption of internet services, increasing access and ownership of computer devices, enhancing digital skills training opportunities, and developing the capacity and impact of the organization.
As part of the first objective outlined by Alliance, the Steering Committee will begin working with the City’s Smart Cities team and the University of Texas at San Antonio regarding a Digital Divide Assessment for San Antonio. The Digital Divide Assessment intends to evaluate the City’s infrastructure, connectivity, access to devices, and digital literacy skills to get a baseline on the current status and conditions impacting the community. Additionally, the Digital Divide Assessment will include the development of potential strategies and efforts with local organizations such as SmartSA, which includes the San Antonio Water System, CPS Energy, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio River Authority, San Antonio Housing Authority, VIA Metropolitan Transit, Edwards Aquifer Authority, and Bexar County Appraisal District, to reduce the digital divide in San Antonio. The partnership with SmartSA will enable the Alliance to pursue efforts and implement strategies collaboratively with established and trusted local community organizations. Through this approach, the Alliance is hopeful that outreach regarding the Digital Divide Assessment will reach households, residents, businesses, and community stakeholders to the greatest extent possible.
Lit Communities is a strong supporter of efforts and initiatives to reduce the digital divide across the United States and is proud that Rene Gonzalez will serve on the Steering Committee for the Alliance. Understanding the needs of the community is integral to Lit Communities’ process for developing and deploying our networks. In most cases, there is no greater motivation or incentive to perform our work other than the drive to reduce the digital divide in the communities we work in. Lit Communities believes that enhanced technology in our cities and towns has the potential to improve quality of life, education, workforce development, and sustainability of industries. As the second most populated city in the State of Texas, and the seventh largest in the United States, there is no doubt that San Antonio and the DIASA will serve as role models for other communities. Rene Gonzalez’s participation on the Steering Committee for the DIASA will enhance Lit Communities’ ability to encourage other towns and municipalities to formally address the digital divide through the formation of their own alliances to gather data and assess needs on a local scale, develop innovative partnerships, and implement digital inclusion strategic initiatives. Please stay tuned for future posts and announcements as the City of San Antonio’s Smart Cities team, SmartSA, and DIASA begin working on the Digital Divide Assessment in 2019.