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A Groundbreaking Initiative to Provide Free High-Speed Internet For Families in Need

Toolkit

Chicago Connected is sharing materials and resources to help other municipalities and organizations stand up internet access and equity programs around the country.

Materials and Resources

Due to the complexity of work, creating an internet access program that targets many thousands of students and families does not lend itself to an ad hoc model of management. These documents outline the process used by CPS to plan and implement the Chicago Connected program.

High Level Summary of Program

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Governance Structure, Processes, and Templates

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External Outreach Presentation

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Internet Service Provider (ISP) Terms

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Project Proposal

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Third Party Case Study feat. Chicago Connected

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Contact

For more information about Chicago Connected, email Casey.Baxley@cityofchicago.org.

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About Chicago Connected

Launched in June 2020, Chicago Connected is a groundbreaking initiative designed to provide high-speed internet for eligible families at no cost to them. The program will be one of the longest-term efforts of its kind as it seeks to expand internet access to students over the course of four years.

Chicago Connected was designed to respond to an opportunity to eliminate a barrier to digital learning that disproportionately hurts Chicago’s low‐income families and students of color. The program began with the goal of offering access to approximately 100,000 students in order to narrow the digital divide for CPS families.

Partners

Chicago Connected’s public-private partnership brought together a variety of stakeholders to confront digital inequities head-on. An important starting point was understanding the experience of parents and elevating their voices, as well as quantifying the scale of the issue. The program involved Internet Service Providers, Community-Based Organizations, Chicago Public Schools, the City of Chicago, the philanthropic community, a fiscal agent and ongoing parent advocacy partners.

Outreach

The Chicago Connected team adopted a wide-variety of outreach tactics to market the program, including using data and real-time feedback. They discovered that the three values that matter most in reaching families are trust, repetition, and ease of access. More than anything, the team learned that personal, direct contact yields the highest sign-up rates.

FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions about Chicago Connected eligibility, connectivity and more.

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