Maricopa County, Arizona Digital Equity Initiative
Geeks Without Frontiers and the N50 Project serves as partner to the Arizona State University-led initiative receiving a $34.6 million investment from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. This funding, part of the American Rescue Plan, aims to address unequal access to high-speed broadband across Arizona. ASU, with the support of partners is helping to lead the largest university-led digital equity initiative in the country. The collaborative effort involves ASU Enterprise Technology, Sun Corridor Network, and the Digital Equity Institute. The initiative focuses on enhancing digital proficiency, distributing internet-connected devices, and bridging the digital divide in Maricopa County. The initiative involves collaboration between government, education, community, and industry partners to ensure widespread access to digital resources and connectivity.
The funding supports various programs and projects, including broadband installations in collaboration with community anchor institutions such as schools and health clinics. The goal is to empower communities to transition from digital inequity to full participation in the digital economy. The initiative also involves data analysis and mapping to identify gaps in service and ensure that resources are directed to where they are most needed.
In August of 2023, Geeks Without Frontiers and N50 partners started working with Arizona State University and Sun Corridor Network to help deliver digital equity results in Maricopa County, AZ. Geeks Without Frontiers contributes to this broader mission of providing reliable internet access and training for the region through community outreach and network infrastructure support.
Our approach involves building new broadband infrastructure to key community anchor institutions to connect unserved and underserved people, and the other approach is supporting efforts to boost participation among those who are currently unsubscribed with content, devices, and relevant resources. In this first phase of work, N50 partners such as EPS, Intel, VCTI, and Barbara Bush Foundation are actively offering and providing support.