Lynn Dodson 00:00
Hello. I'm Lynn Dodson. I'm with Spectrum, and I'm the Vice President of Sales for the Community Solutions Team. We're excited as a company to be participating in the program. You know, we're a very large company, but we have a large local footprint. So we have 100,000s, of local employees here. And I think we're all excited to be part of the program and to support the program. Our broadband infrastructure is already in all the buildings. So we'll be able to move quickly, to access, activate services for the residents and start the digital adoption. Public-private partnership is a great way to get the underserved community access quickly. Our partnership with Access Charlotte is just that. You know, we intend to quickly roll out our program to all the underserved and be able to access the services for the residents. I think we all found during the pandemic on how important connectivity was. And I think we saw a lot of folks who were left behind during that time. And I think this was a great opportunity to get access through Access Charlotte, and Spectrum for all those folks who can really use the connectivity.
Keshia Brinkley 01:13
Partner Liaison Analyst at 311 is someone who we talk with the back-end departments. We're in constant communication with the back-end departments, about the new policies, about the processes that they have, making sure that we have the information updated for our agents so that they can provide seamless and excellent customer service and so that they're also following the things that the back-end departments want done. We also have partnered with several outside organizations such as the CDE, the Center for Digital Equity. So we actually take calls for them. And we refer them over to their digital navigators program, which kind of ties into Access Charlotte, which is why we're so excited that they included 311. When people call in they are in need of something, whether it's I need to know about financial assistance, or I need to know about tech help. So when they call in, and we're like, hey, we have — did you know, we have this program here in Charlotte? And we can bridge that divide where there's people who don't have internet access, who don't have access to, to laptops and things of that nature. And so by us teaming up with Access Charlotte as well as the CDE. It allows us to make our community stronger, which is part of our part of the 311 mission, like we want to strengthen the community, make it a strong community, one interaction at a time.
Emery Ortiz 02:53
I am Emery Ortiz, I am the Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library. Right now, we are focusing a lot on digital equity work and just the various resources that we can bring to the community in that way. Public libraries have been at the forefront of digital equity work for decades. And we really appreciate the chance to collaborate with organizations like the Center for Digital Equity in providing our communities with vital resources. Access Charlotte is something we're really excited to be a part of. This work is you know, vast and none of us have the capacity to do it on our own. So again, going back to that collaboration, we want to help be information centers for Access Charlotte, making sure our citizens know how they can get connected, where services are available, and also be a provider of resources in terms of technology. Digital access is such an essential component to everyday life now that the equity piece of that we do not want to leave anyone behind, we want everyone to have the same opportunities as everyone else. And so digital equity is a key component to that. With the access that Access Charlotte will provide, that internet connectivity piece will be there for so many of our citizens, which is absolutely critical. Where other organizations like the CDE and the public library can fill in is with the hardware, the technology with the resources and with guided, you know, digital literacy and information courses to really help, you know, someone get from point A to point B in that journey. This is really valuable work and it's really rewarding to see the benefits that the community receives from having enhanced access, more device connectivity, more resources spread throughout the community. Through our laptop distributions, we've heard stories of grandparents being able to speak to their grandkids that live far away now that they have access to Facebook or to Zoom. You know, we've heard from people who have new job opportunities because they have access to technology. So seeing that direct positive impact that we're able to have is just the most rewarding thing about my position.
Natali Betancur 05:07
I'm Natali Betancur. I'm the Deputy Director at the Center for Digital Equity with Queens University of Charlotte. We bring together the public sector, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and community members to co-create solutions that ultimately help our community members thrive in today's modern culture. The Center for Digital Equity has a critical role in the Access Charlotte program. And what we're going to do is really bring a holistic approach to getting community members connected. We're not only looking at getting individuals and households connected to the internet, but also do they need a device that they can utilize that internet on? Digital equity is no longer a luxury right? Having access is not a luxury having access in today's society is as necessary as your electricity and as your water. Access itself is critical to thrive in today's modern society. As an immigrant myself, I think at firsthand I experienced the immense amount of barriers around not only access navigating and language in all these different barriers. It's on a personal level. I feel very invested in this but it's also as a team. Our mission is to make Mecklenburg County the most digitally equitable community in America.