Promoting Digital Inclusion by Providing Low-cost Computers and Broadband Access

The pandemic has made internet access and digital connectivity a crucial commodity in our world. Being connected to internet is now necessary for work, education, health and entertainment as the world becomes more virtual.  Unfortunately, there is a huge digital divide in our country as approximately 19million Americans lack access to broadband access. For some, they do not even have the devices to access the internet. This excludes households and families from getting access to education, healthcare, remote jobs and entertainment. 

The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council in its efforts to bridge the digital divide partnered with PCs for People and The Peoria Park District to provide an important step to connectivity to low income households- access to desktop computers. This was achieved through a pop up event held on January 27, 2022, where eligible community members received free refurbished desktop computers provided by PCs for People.

PCs for People is a non-profit organization that focuses on getting low-cost computers and affordable broadband internet into the homes of low-income individuals. Through an unwavering commitment to the communities they serve, they have provided 190,000 people with home computers, connected 77,000 households to low-cost internet, and recycled over 9 million pounds of electronics.

The event was hosted in the gym of the Proctor Recreation Center of the Peoria Park District. It solidifies the three organizations’ commitment to increase digital inclusion in the region and bridge the digital divide in low-income and underserved areas and support the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). 

Recipients were required to pre-register ahead of the event and the interest exceeded the 50 person cap that is usually set for these pick up events as we saw  over 60 computers given out.  

"Having access to internet and technology is so important for daily life. It is a whole quality of life issue and having those resources help people connect to education, healthcare and workforce".  

Grace Clucas, American Connection Corps Fellow at GPEDC Tweet

Grace added that seeing the turnout and having whole families come together to pick up devices highlighted the situation and obstacles people faced with getting access to technology.  

I have children that are out of state so I can keep in touch with them and get updates on what is going on in the world, check on my bank accounts and look up designs for my craft work.

I have two 9year old twins that are in school that sometimes have to go virtual and I sometimes have to do work on my tablet while they are in school so this will really help out.

GPEDC and PCs for People hope to bring more of these events to the region. If you missed out on this event, mark your calendars as the PCs for People event is March 31 at the Pekin Public Library at 301 South 4th St. You can register for that event here.

 

The event had some great coverage by the media. WEEK and WMBD.

You can access the press release for the event here.

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