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On Friday, September 24, FOCUS Greater Syracuse held a forum on Bridging the Digital Divide in Central New York.
Eliminating the digital divide in urban and rural communities is a long-standing national challenge which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as access to technology was essential to daily necessities of life. If digital inclusion and equity are not achieved, existing disparities in educational, health status, health care access, and income security will become even greater across economic, racial, ethnic, and geographic groups.
A holistic, cooperative solution is required that ensures access to high quality broadband, affordable Internet service and devices, and access to digital literacy resources. This forum will cover the impact and extent of the digital divide in Central New York and initiatives planned and underway by the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County to address digital inclusion and equity.
Panelists for our Digital Divide forum included David Bottar, Executive Director, CNY Regional Planning and Development Board; Annabeth Hayes, Co-Founder, CNY Digital Inclusion Coalition, Director, Tully Free Library; Jennifer Tifft, Director of Strategic Initiatives, City of Syracuse; and Kevin Sexton, Chief Information Officer, Onondaga County Department of Information Technology.
Moderator: Sharon Brangman, MD, FACP, AGSF; Chair, Department of Geriatrics; Director, Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease, SUNY Upstate University; FOCUS’ 2016 Wisdom Keeper