KIC Founding Principles

The Challenge 

Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians lack the internet service, devices, and digital skills they need to thrive in the modern world.

For decades, the federal government has made investments intended to bring broadband to every community in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, many of these investments were made with little community input, and they relied on Internet Service Providers (ISP) that did not always fulfill their commitments or that used technology that is now out of date.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians went into the pandemic with little to no connectivity. These people lost access to their jobs, their doctors, their banks, their schools, their churches, their families—all at once, and just when they needed it most. The pandemic may have ended, but the world remains online, and hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians still lack meaningful connectivity.

Pennsylvania has an opportunity to rectify this. The state is receiving over $1 billion to address every aspect of the digital divide — infrastructure, affordability, devices, digital skills. This is likely the largest investment our state will ever make in broadband and digital equity, and so it’s imperative we get it right.

The Opportunity

Pennsylvania has the resources to bring connectivity to more people than ever before.

KIC is giving Pennsylvanians a voice in this historic investment. Over the next few years, the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority will plan and implement a series of programs to bring high-quality broadband and digital inclusion services to every Pennsylvanian. These programs will address issues such as the quality and availability of network infrastructure, the cost of internet service and devices, and challenges related to safely and effectively using technology for education, healthcare, employment, and other activities.

Fortunately, there is a bipartisan political will to maximize the impact of this investment. The pandemic forced everyone to recognize that internet service is essential to modern life. Policymakers and legislators want to be a part of the solution, and coalitions like ours have many new resources at our disposal.

Provide oversight and accountability so that public funds are used for the public good and state planning and implementation processes are transparent and inclusive.

Educate state and federal policymakers on issues that impact digital equity, such as affordability and device programs, digital navigator services, consumer education, and the need for high-quality broadband infrastructure.

Advocate for planning and implementation processes that leverage local resources to avoid duplication of effort or imposing “top-down” solutions. Identify and promote existing digital inclusion programs across the Commonwealth so that funding supports organizations doing effective work in our communities where the need is highest.

Promote meaningful community engagement in all aspects of the state’s broadband planning and implementation processes. Ensure there is a seat at the table for digital inclusion practitioners, community stakeholders, and “lived experts” who are members of the populations most affected by digital inequity.

Evaluate the output of the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, including proposing and monitoring key metrics, participating in public-facing activities, providing feedback on state plans, and monitoring program operation and impact.

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