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Report: Web Use Way Up in Smart Communities

Residents participating in LISC Chicago's Smart Communities program are using high-speed Internet more frequently, but greater access to affordable broadband at home remains an issue for at-risk communities, according to new research released by Broadband Illinois.

The "Measuring Change in Internet Use and Broadband Adoption: Comparing BTOP Smart Communities and Other Chicago Neighborhoods" study analyzes data from 2008 to 2011 to measure and compare change in Internet access, use and online activities among neighborhoods participating in the Smart Communities program and other Chicago neighborhoods. Areas participating in Smart Communities - and the neighborhood partners involved - include Auburn Gresham (Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corp.), Chicago Lawn (Southwest Organizing Project), Englewood (Teamwork Englewood), Humboldt Park (Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp.), and Pilsen (The Resurrection Project). They saw a 15 percent higher increase in Internet use than other Chicago neighborhoods during the span of the study.

The City of Chicago's Smart Communities program received federal stimulus funds to launch broadband training and digital literacy outreach programs in nine low-income neighborhoods. The program partners with LISC Chicago and a number of community organizations to provide basic Internet training, digital summer jobs, resources for small businesses and classes for neighborhood groups researching services and issues online.

The study was conducted by Caroline Tolbert at the University of Iowa, Karen Mossberger at the University of Illinois Chicago, and Chris Anderson at the University of Iowa. The research was supported by Broadband Illinois. Read the executive summary or the entire report. And here's a story from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Posted in Smart Communities News

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