A Patchwork of Change
The Chicago Area Broadband Initiative (CABI) is an affordable broadband initiative focused on bridging the digital divide in urban underserved communities. CABI is not just about providing internet access – it’s about utilizing the access to the internet to expand and grow opportunity within our communities.
Vision: The eradication of the Digital Divide in economically challenged communities through the creation of a community-based broadband network providing the essential digital services designed to transform these neighborhoods into vibrant digital social economies.
Mission: Deploy a hybrid fiber/wireless network providing residents with low-cost broadband and services, that enables them to take full advantage of the digital economy.
Broadband Delivers Opportunities and Strengthens Communities
Getting Beyond the Digital Divide
In 1998, Larry Irving published a seminal report where he coined the term “the Digital Divide”. The Digital Divide is the socio-technological state-of-affairs where based upon race, class, geographic location we have those who are digital have nots as opposed to those who enjoy full digital inclusion and in essence are the digital haves. Numerous studies have been conducted as to the cause of the digital divide, how best to solve it and whether or not it is getting any better.
In 2020, the adverse effect of the Digital Divide on economically challenged communities has become the subject of national attention. As we have all had to quickly move to digital life: schooling, work and entertainment over the Internet, we have been forced to acknowledge the fact that Internet access is unevenly distributed demarcating historical faultlines. The focus of CABI is on economically challenged communities in the City of Chicago.
The Chicago-Area Broadband Initiative (CABI), is an innovative approach to create Gigabit Opportunity Zones within economically neglected communities located throughout the City of Chicago. CABI is a digital socio-economic transformation project whose goal is to provide residents of Chicago’s economically challenged areas with Gigabit Opportunities that enable them to become participant’s in, rather than spectators of, the digital economy.
CABI represents a multi-faceted solution to the need to platform historically economically neglected communities to the promise and benefits of the digital economy.
Deploy a dedicated community-based fiber/wireless broadband network.
Assemble a coalition of community-based organizations and anchor institutions that will inform CABI and ensure that the community’s needs are met.
Engage in community-based public-private partnership that provide support, guidance and delivers high quality services that address dynamic community trends and goals.
Implement a mentorship and job apprenticeship program.
Provide targeted human, civic and economic development services to the community by growing partnerships with local community based organizations and businesses.
Develop a digital workforce through mentorship and apprenticeship certification training programs.
Connect residents to an always-on online digital community portal. Providing access to community outreach, city, state and federal services, and telehealth solutions.
The ultimate mission of the CABI is to generate digital economic development in targeted areas throughout the City of Chicago where predominantly economically disadvantaged residents reside in order to counter the historical lack of access to the benefits and opportunities connected to broadband services and applications thus creating Gigabit Opportunity Zones.