First-of-its-kind portal offers interactive snapshot of digital equity data
Working in partnership with Community Tech NY (CTNY) and Cornell University’s New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), the New York State Education Department (NYSED), the New York State Library (NYSL) and The John R. Oishei Foundation (JROF) have launched the New York State Digital Equity Portal. The NYS Digital Equity Portal is an interactive, online data mapping tool for communities across the state seeking data on New Yorkers’ ability to access the internet to advance digital equity.
“Digital inequity is a complex and multifaceted problem,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. “The Board of Regents and I understand that closing digital equity gaps will require the coordination, cooperation, and the intentional capacity-building of the many organizations supporting digital inclusion across New York.”
NYSED Commissioner Dr. Betty A. Rosa said, “We are pleased that the State Education Department and the State Library are part of this effort to make digital equity data open and accessible to all New Yorkers. Our hope is that it will guide the decision-making and planning of coalitions, organizations and funders.”
Houman Saberi, Co-director at CTNY, said, “The NYS Digital Equity Portal is a groundbreaking step to advance digital equity by supporting community leaders to understand the scope of the digital divide. CTNY and our partners are excited to partner with digital equity practitioners to use the portal to develop holistic solutions that advance digital justice.”
The development of the portal draws on existing digital equity work, including the NYSED’s “Achieving Digital Equity in New York State: An Outline for Collaborative Change,” and feedback from digital equity advocates across the state to create a resource that is intended to be clear, comprehensive and user-friendly.
A press release noted, “Recognizing that access to broadband in and of itself is a limited measure of the digital divide, the NYS Digital Equity Portal allows users to generate interactive snapshots of connectivity, population/demographics, speed and cost of broadband, and other digital equity resources from selected geographies across NYS. Users can analyze the data based on geographies such as congressional districts, ZIP code, census tract, and New York public library system. The project team plans to develop more data layers through continued research and collaboration with digital equity advocates in New York State.
“The NYS Digital Equity Portal reveals barriers to internet access, and this data will help communities develop digital equity strategies based on an understanding of digital equity needs, gaps and priorities.”
The NYS Digital Equity Portal is an expansion of the Western New York Digital Divide portal, an online resource created with the support of The John R. Oishei Foundation in late 2020/early 2021. The NYS Digital Equity Portal is supported in part with federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds allocated to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).