BTOP - Impact Beyond the Numbers, Part II

BTOP - Impact Beyond the Numbers, Part II

This is the second post reporting highlights from ZeroDivide's Generation ZD, our three-year program from the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP). The program designed to support organizations striving to improve broadband access for community members with limited or no access to digital and information technology at home. Read first round of highlights and more about the program on our blog >>.

3) Community and Business Partnerships Were Strengthened.

Every GenZD subrecipient noted significant new or strengthened partnerships with other community entities such as the YMCA, charter and public schools, municipal agencies, local public radio and television stations, the local community foundation and other youth-centered nonprofits. These improved networks and collaborative efforts are the direct result of BTOP-funded programming.

  • Tribal Digital Village Project has seen an increase in broadband literacy among tribal leaders as well as community members. An increased understanding of the value of high-speed Internet access is increasing demand for it. This increase in demand followed from the organization’s community broadband trainings as well as its ongoing interactions with tribal leadership. Tribal Digital Village Project is finding that people who do not yet have Internet access at home are now able to talk about it in a meaningful way; their awareness is much greater than prior to the grant. Over the years, tribal leaders have become champions of broadband within their communities and with their peers across the nation.

  • By producing culturally specific and hyper-local content, subrecipients are addressing the supply-side of the broadband adoption equation. Organizations are building libraries of content that is of interest and directly relevant to the communities they serve. Access Humboldt, Akaku, CMAP, SpyHop and Tribal Digital Village Project are actively pursuing this strategy. CMAP has also contributed to the launch of BenitoLink.com, an online source for hyper-local journalism. One significant aim of this project is to increase awareness of the value of broadband and local consumers’ demand for affordable access.

  • The GenZD project advanced the shared vision for comprehensive community solutions. As part of its BTOP-funded program, Access Humboldt conducted significant outreach to rural Native American communities. These youth had media-related conversations that helped to build lasting relationships with community leaders in very remote areas, which in turn led to coordinated efforts around community radio services and new broadband network deployment.

  • Portland Community Media successfully partnered with Comcast to host a Summer Digital Festival. The event, attended by 200 community members, promoted equitable access to the Internet and showcased the importance of broadband.

  • The Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Fe continues to undertake efforts to coordinate with the local housing agency and Internet providers to find opportunities to expand Internet access to the families of its program participants. 

4)  Overall, ZeroDivide’s Community of Practice, which facilitated networking and relationship building across the grantee organizations, was viewed as the most valuable program component.

The two in-person convenings held in San Francisco were noted as most helpful. The connections made through the BTOP grants:

  • Facilitated the cross-pollination of youth media program strategies and tools.

  • Facilitated sharing of social enterprise-related insights and resources.

  • Helped alleviate the sense of isolation often experienced by the participating organizations because youth media programming was not prevalent in their local communities.

  • Gave participants new perspectives on their own work by bringing youth-focused organizations together with community media organizations.