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Bridging the Digital Divide

Armond Budish giving a speech

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the digital divide in Cuyahoga County. We know that almost 25 percent of homes in the County lack in-home internet access of any kind, making it difficult for kids to do homework, for residents to apply for jobs and for easy access to medical records in an increasingly digital world. Internet access is critical to day-to-day life, and we’re continuing to look at both immediate and long-term solutions to better connect the unconnected.”

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish

Imagine your life without the internet. Simple things like applying for jobs and completing school work become nearly impossible.

This is the reality that tens of thousands of Cuyahoga County residents face.

We are working toward a long-term, sustainable solution to bridging the digital divide.

We’re Looking Toward the Future

Our Office of Innovation & Performance has released a request for information (RFI) to solicit ideas for potential strategies and partnerships to expand affordable, high-speed broadband services to County residents.

Check out the RFI

Current Efforts

As we look for a long-term solution, we’ve tackled the digital divide in various other ways:

September 2019
The County partnered with non-profit DigitalC to provide Fairfax neighborhood with low-cost in-home internet access through installation of an antenna on top of the Juvenile Justice Center. As of December 2020, DigitalC has over 800 subscribers.

April 2020
The County donated 300 hotspots to Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) to distribute to students without internet access; we also put out calls to businesses to donate computers and other unused equipment.

June 2020
The County, in partnership with OhioMeansJobs│Cleveland-Cuahoga County, hosted the first Virtual Job Fair to connect job seekers with local employers. The County, PCs for People, and the Mandel Supporting Foundation at the Jewish Federation provided computers, hotspots, and three months of internet access for free for up to 1000 eligible job seekers. Additional Job Fairs were held throughout 2020 with over 630 participants in the job fairs finding employment as a result.

July 2020
The County, the Cleveland Foundation and T-Mobile created the Greater Cleveland Digital Equity Fund, which aims to strategically and efficiently address immediate and long-term needs surrounding broadband access, computing devices, digital literacy and technology support. Through the fund, the County and its partners provided up to 5,000 internet hotspots, two years’ worth of unlimited data, and up to 10,000 laptops to families with a K-12 student in the home.

November 2020
County contributed $500,000 to the continuation of Academic Learning Pods, which are safe, socially-distanced places for students to participate in remote schooling with adult supervision for those unable to access a computer or internet at home.

Get Immediate Access

If you or someone you know needs a computer or internet access, free computers and internet hotspots are available for eligible families with students and seniors. You can sign up online or call 216-930-5741.

Get a computer or hotspot