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The City of Portland, Oregon

Office for Community Technology

Broadband & Communications Policy, Cable Regulation & Consumer Protection and Utility Franchises, Licenses & Wireless

Phone: 503-823-5385

111 SW Columbia St, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97201

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City of Portland Receives NDIA Trailblazer Award (Oct 2020)

Digital Inclusion Trailblazer logo

October 2020: City of Portland, one of 14 cities nation-wide, named Digital Inclusion TrailblazerDigital Inclusion Trailblazers plague

Released at a time when COVID-19 has forced many communities to confront their own digital divides, Digital Inclusion Trailblazers is “an honor roll of local government initiatives that promote digital literacy and broadband access for underserved residents.” NDIA created this honor roll provide examples and encouragement for community leaders seeking to provide similar support for their own community members.

The City of Portland applied and was selected for the 2020 Trailblazers list based on the City's progress towards meeting all six indicators of digital inclusion leadership:

  1. The local government has, or directly funds, at least one full-time staff dedicated to digital inclusion initiatives, policies and/or programs.
  2. The local government has a digital inclusion plan or is in the process of developing a plan.
  3. Representatives of the local government participate in a digital inclusion coalition.
  4. The local government has conducted or plans to conduct and publish survey research on Internet access and use by your residents.
  5. The local government directly funds community digital inclusion programming.
  6. The local government is taking steps to increase affordability of home broadband service.

“NDIA strongly believes that local communities are where real digital inclusion happens, and local government leadership is one of the keys to making it happen,” said NDIA Executive Director Angela Siefer in announcing the 2020 Digital Inclusion Trailblazers. “The COVID-19 crisis has made communities throughout the country painfully aware of the digital divides separating their citizens, and why those divides are damaging — to education, to economic opportunity and employment, to healthcare, and to civic and social connections. The 2020 Trailblazers are important models for effective action by local government leaders to promote digital inclusion and equity for all of their neighbors.”

Internet and wireless providers pledge to make it easier to access broadband amid coronavirus crisis

MARCH 13, 2020

In order to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus outbreak, Chairman Pai specifically asked broadband and telephone service providers to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge.

The Keep Americans Connected Pledge calls on companies, for the next 60 days, to:

(1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;

(2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and

(3) open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

Carriers have also offered additional support. Here’s an overview:

AT&T  is waiving wireless overage charges for data, voice and text for residential or small business.

CenturyLink is suspending data usage limits.

Comcast paused data plans for 60 days giving all customers unlimited data for no additional charge. New customers that are qualified low-income households can receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which includes an internet speed increase to 25 Mbps for new and existing program customers in addition to other updates.

Sprint is waiving activation and upgrade fees as well as offering free next-day shipping for upgrades and new phone orders. Customers with metered data plans will receive unlimited data per month for 60 days. Customers will also receive an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot data per month for 60 days at no extra cost.

T-Mobile is offering current customers with data plans unlimited smartphone data for 60 days (excluding roaming). Customers will also receive an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot/tethering service. The offer applies to T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers.

Verizon has introduced new affordable plans for low-income households, waived over-limit fees, and increased wireless customers’ data allowance by 15GB through April 30.

For more specific information on your service provider’s offerings, contact their customer service team or visit their website. Also, be sure to contact your service provider directly with any service issues or payment hardships related to COVID-19.

Portland/Home Forward Joins the ConnectHome Nation Initiative

ConnectHome logo

Home Forward, the housing authority serving Portland/Multnomah County, was selected to be part of the inaugural cohort of ConnectHome Nation, the innovative program to end the digital divide in public housing across the United States.

Portland is one of 30 communities selected through an open application process led by EveryoneOn.

In May 2017, EveryoneOn announced the expansion of the ConnectHome pilot initiative, which launched in 2015 in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and was created to bridge the digital divide in 28 pilot communities. Rebranded ConnectHome Nation, the goal of the initiative is to expand to 100 communities and connect 350,000 people living in the HUD)-assisted housing by 2020.

“ConnectHome and now ConnectHome Nation is a first of its kind, public private partnership that is committed to ending the digital divide in public housing across the United States,” said Chike Aguh, chief executive officer of EveryoneOn. “We are so excited to welcome Home Forward/Portland to this new cohort of communities who are committed to changing the life trajectory of some of the most in need in our country.”

Please follow along here as we provides updates to our progress. To learn more about ConnectHome Nation, visit www.connecthomenation.org.