Groups unite to fix digital divide in NE W-S

Groups unite to fix digital divide in NE W-S
August 04
08:05 2016



Various local organizations have partnered with AT&T to launch an initiative called NETT (Neighborhood Empowerment Through Technology) that will widen the access to technology, and enhance the digital literacy skills of residents in the northeast portion of the city.

During a ceremony held at Carl Russell Sr. Recreation Center on Tuesday, July 28, Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke read a proclamation officially launching the initiative. After reading the declaration signed by Mayor Allen Joines, who was unable to attend the ceremony, Burke said she was overjoyed with the partnership that will bring low-cost home Internet to residents in need.

“I am glad that we have organizations that are willing to come together, and get out in our neighborhoods to make sure we are all on the same page,” continued Burke. “Access to the Internet and basic computer skills are required in today’s society.”

“I speak for the mayor and the other elected officials when I say we are thankful for the organizations we have in this city. These various organizations help us have the wonderful city we have here today.”

Organizations partnering with the city on NETT include the Winston-Salem Urban League, Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), Forsyth Technical Community College (FTCC), Forsyth County Public Library, WinstonNet and the United Way of Forsyth County.

“There are a lot of organizations that came together to make this possible, but our goal is to speak as one voice,” said Urban League CEO James Perry.

“It’s going to take one voice in order to make sure the NETT project is extremely effective and serves this community well,” he said. “This is a wonderful great initiative. We want to bridge the digital divide in this community.”

Perry, who was the driving force behind the partnership , said he was excited to see the initiative  finally come to life. He also mentioned the importance of the United Way, which will provide the funding for the program. NETT is also included in the United Way’s Place Matters initiative.

Under the NETT pro-gram,  AT&T will provide its Access Program to qualifying neighborhoods in northeast Winston-Salem. According AT&T regional director of external affairs, Kathleen Evans, the program will offer broadband Internet service for as low as $5 a month for 3 mbps (mega bites per second).

Evans noted that the program also includes a free Wi-Fi modem, and activation and installation fees will be waved as well. She mentioned to qualify, at least one member of the household must be enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

“We believe we will be a great asset to the NETT Program,” she said. “AT&T truly appreciates local officials and local leaders who implement ordinances that support efforts, to provide services to those in need.”

“AT&T is proud to support NETT,” Evans said.

While improving accessibility to the Internet, the initiative will also aim to educate the community.

Forsyth Technical Community College along with WinstonNet will offer participants free computer training courses. The first 100 people to finish the course will receive a refurbished laptop for only $25. In addition, the Forsyth County Public Library will also provide free computer courses and other training programs.

Winston-Salem State University and the Winston-Salem Urban League will be responsible for tracking the progress of the program.

For more information on NETT or to enroll in the program visit

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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