The City of Philadelphia seeks to measure digital divide

The City of Philadelphia, USA and the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia launched a request for proposal (RFP) to quantify the number of households that are without internet or rely on unstable, low-bandwidth options. The RFP, which is open until 29 January 2021, is meant to help the city benchmark its progress on closing the digital divide and inform the next phase of policy, programme, and budget decisions. According to the city, a key challenge to the PHLConnnectED programme is benchmarking its impact and understanding how many more families remain in need of internet connectivity. City of Philadelphia, Chief Information Officer, Mark Wheeler explained:

To address digital equity problems, the City of Philadelphia needs to be able to benchmark its impact on programmes like PHLConnectED. The city seeks feedback from firms or research agencies who have the means to measure Internet use (by type of technology) by Philadelphia households. We are looking for any and all ways to achieve quantifiable measures. Because we are smart city and innovation-oriented, proposals that make sophisticated use of commercial data modelling and artificial intelligence are of particular interest.