Closing the Digital Divide in Dayton

Molly Kocour Boyle – President, AT&T Ohio
November 9, 2022
Broadband Access and Affordability, Community Impact


Closing the Digital Divide in Dayton

Rachel Ward was excited to see a group of people had come to the Hope Center for Families to learn more about navigating the internet. In her role as the director of operations at the Omega Community Development Corporation (Omega CDC), which runs the Hope Center in Dayton, Ohio, she had seen most of them before. They’re clients from the surrounding Northwest Dayton community, and they love learning.

So, of course they came early for their digital literacy workshop. They’d heard that Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims and staff from AT&T Ohio were going to be there. In addition to the workshop, announcements were going to be made about fast new fiber internet service in Dayton. Omega CDC clients Dorothy Jones, Jo Ann Evans Nesby, Shirley Akbar, and Darlene Bell saw a fiber training trailer parked out front and rushed out to learn more about the technology investment happening in their area.

“Greater digital literacy provides a better quality of living and makes a big difference for our most vulnerable local families. I thank AT&T for these and other investments they’re making in our community.”

~ Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims

They learned that AT&T Fiber has become available to more than 5,000  customer locations near the Hope Center. And that this ultra-fast home internet service that enables multi-gig speeds is now reaching more than 70,000  customer locations across the Dayton area. A $15,000 AT&T Foundation grant being presented to the Omega CDC, benefitting the very learning center where the digital literacy workshop was about to begin, was the icing on the cake. The neighborhood friends chuckled as they posed for photos with Ward and the ceremonial $15,000 check.

“This community workshop and the AT&T Foundation grant to Omega CDC help more of our Northwest Dayton neighbors become confident in their ability to utilize a computer for work, school, and home life,” said Mayor Mims. “Greater digital literacy provides a better quality of living and makes a big difference for our most vulnerable local families. I thank AT&T for these and other investments they’re making in our community.”

At AT&T, we’re driven to connect people, and we’re putting the best of our reach and resources to work to bring the benefits of broadband and digital access to all. And it’s going to take more than one bridge to get there. That’s why we are helping close the digital divide together by focusing not only on access to affordable high-quality  internet, but also the skills and community resources that encourage safe and successful adoption.

Our afternoon at Dayton’s Hope Center, where Dorothy, Jo, Shirley and Darlene also learned about the federal Affordable Connectivity Program and the low-cost offerings of Access from AT&T, touched on all these important pillars of our work to help close the digital divide. We invested nearly $100 million in our wireless and wired networks in the Dayton area from 2019-2021, and we’re committed to bringing affordable internet options to more Ohio families.

Mayor Mims marveled at the advances of broadband technology, showing Dorothy and the others that the smartphone he now holds in his hand can do the same work that used to take massive computer equipment filling several rooms. As technology continues to evolve, AT&T’s efforts to help close the digital divide continue, including a $2 billion commitment from 2021 to 2023. We’ve also, launched a company-wide Bridge to Possibility: Closing the digital divide, together campaign to drive more awareness of the digital divide and the collective response needed to address it.

Check out local news coverage of this important work and our afternoon at Omega CDC from the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News-Sun.