In an Oct. 31, 2023 podcast, Jennifer Hawkins, President and CEO of ONE Neighborhood Builders, talks about the digital divide and the organization’s efforts with ONE|NB Connects, free community WiFi in Olneyville.
The Community Broadband Bits Podcast was hosted by Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local self-reliance in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Hawkins sheds light on ONE|NB’s long-term structural approach to bridging the digital gap in underserved communities by including broadband in upcoming housing developments.
“Our work in broadband is an example of not only doing a proof of concept here in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence, but also pushing on the system and trying to pave the way for entities in the state and at the municipal level to really address the digital divide and the equity gap related to broadband,” Hawkins said.
ONE|NB Connects (read the case study), launched in November 2020, was designed to provide free high-speed internet access to residents in the Olneyville neighborhood, a community marked by high poverty, a significant immigrant population, and limited access to health-care information and services.
The podcast touches on the challenges and successes of ONE|NB Connects, highlighting ONE|NB’s efforts to engage users and eliminate access barriers, such as passcodes, to ensure a user-friendly experience.
Looking ahead, ONE|NB has expanded its broadband efforts to new housing developments, focusing on creating future-proof infrastructure to get the most users.