Friday, October 27, 2017

Endorsement and response to Cleveland Digital Justice Campaign

I support all four of the proposed actions by Connect Your Community.  My support is indicated for each one below with some specific comments to the challenges we as a City face in implementing these solutions to promote universal digital literacy and broadband Internet access in the City of Cleveland.  I also add to the scope of work of the proposed Cabinet level position to also oversee the City's efforts to connect with civic technology and open data practices.

Brian Cummins
Cleveland City Council, Ward 14
216-664-4238 office


1)  City funding of at least $1 million a year for neighborhood technology centers that
  • Provide basic digital literacy training for community residents, and
  • Help eligible households take advantage of existing discount Internet programs.
          When: 2018 budget year or earlier.

RESPONSE - I commit to this goal and the work that it will take to seek the the minimum $1M funding resources needed.  I have been using a modest amount of funding annually of $20-$40k Ward 14 Casino allocation for the past 3 years to fund the CYC2.0 training center in Brooklyn Centre and their partnerships with CMHARET3 and DigitalC. I have seen first hand the benefit that such training centers can have on connecting people to the internet, to their family members and services and in getting the most of their technology, be it a smart phone, tablet, lap top or desktop computer.

2)  Expansion of the City’s free public wifi network to provide Internet access to residents and neighborhood businesses throughout the city.

          When: Within two years.

RESPONSE - Both #2 and #3 will require a solid plan for designing, financing, implementing and maintaining wifi networks and an optic fiber network.  First consideration should be to consider using our municipal electric utility, CPP as a bonding entity to pay for these 21st century infrastructural investments as was successfully carried out in Chattanooga TN.  I participated in a delegation of Cleveland officials and tech leaders on a trip to visit and learn about Chattanooga's GIG CITY.  Our city has faced challenges modernizing our city's internal operations digital infrastructure  It will take a renewed focus to fund and support our current tech initiatives and to launch a more public facing infrastructure that would bring great social and economic benefit to our residents and city.

3)  A City-owned, city-wide optical fiber broadband network to provide affordable, very fast Internet services to Cleveland homes and businesses — as a City utility service, a delivery option for new competitive private Internet providers, or both.

          When: Within four years.

RESPONSE - See #2 above for part of my response.  In addition, from my experience I believe that in the research and planning for an investment of a city-wide optical fiber broadband network we should give priority for installation of fiber in our core commercial corridors.  We are already focus on building and developing competitive market conditions for housing density in our prime commercial corridors.  The economic and jobs impact on getting fiber installed in these corridors can serve as a catalyst for business investment.  I support a dual delivery option of city and bid private Internet providers to both maintain ability to leverage what will be a City infrastructural asset and provide competitive pricing and services to respond to the continuing evolution in technology

4)  A new Cabinet-level executive position dedicated solely to leading City efforts to promote universal digital literacy and broadband Internet access, including the measures described in 1, 2 and 3.

          When: 2018 budget year or earlier.

RESPONSE - I support a Cabinet-level position with an expanded scope of not only leading efforts to promote universal digital literacy and broadband Internet access, but to also oversee the City's efforts to connect with civic technology and open data practices that would open our government operations and services up for greater scrutiny and accountability to the residents we serve. This would ensure rewarding and promoting our best employees, departments and implementing best-practices and make our operations and expenditures of taxes more efficient and impactful.


Work and media coverage of tech issues Councilman Cummins  has been working on or involved in -

MARK YOUR CALENDAR - Net Inclusion 2018, April 17th-19th | Cleveland, Ohio, Sponsored by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance

Facebook page for the Cleveland Civic Tech and Open Data Collaborative

Midtown Tech Hive will blend coworking, digital education on Cleveland's Health-Tech Corridor,  By Michelle Jarboe, The Plain Dealer, 06.17.2017.  Note that Ward 14 UDAG funding (restricted for economic development) was used to assist this project and it is an investment that is anticipated to bring benefits to Ward 14 through partnerships with DigitalC, CYC2.0, RET3, CMHA and more.

April and May 2017 News for Open Cleveland, by Will Skora, OpenCleveland, 05.17.2017

Room packed for City Council digital inclusion hearing, By Connect Your Community, 05.14.2017

CLE Housing Hackathon, 04.18.2017

TechniCLE Speaking 2016: Fostering Innovation, 04.14.2016

DataDaysCLE 03.02.2017
Interview at the first annual DataDaysCLE.  Plans are in the works for our 2nd Annual DataDaysCLE, being planned for March 2018. Contact our office if you are interested in helping out and or participating!

The Cleveland Civic Tech + Open Data Collaborative, Northeast Ohio’s first annual celebration of data, civic technology, and the doers working to improve the region. By Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), 03.13.2017

Cleveland Should Embrace Civic TechBut without City Hall support, it could fizzle just as the movement is taking off. By Sheehan Hannan, Cleveland Magazine, 01.30.2017

By Connect Your Community 2.0, 01.13.2017

Connect your Community (2.0) computer training center to open in June (2014), By Brian Cummins, 06.16.2014.  Announcement of Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center and CYC 2.0 launch of the “Next CYC” approach in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood of Cleveland.

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