Josh Eichen, Senior Economic Development Planner

Ryan Kelly, Digital Services Manager

Betsy Cowan, Chief Economic Development Planner

Carolina Prieto, Community Engagement Manager

Tony Schloss, Civic Technologist

Ella Brady, Economic Resilience Intern

Chelsea / Revere Digital Access & Equity Plan

Project Overview and
Draft Recommendations

Meeting 10/6/21



Project Context and Process

Digital Access Diagnosis

Infrastructure Assets and Opportunities

Draft Recommendations

The Role of the Municipality

Meeting Goals

Underscore Chelsea & Revere's digital infrastructure assets, and future opportunities for investment.

Build momentum towards next steps that the Cities and partners can take in bridging the digital divide.

Ensure this group has a clear understanding of the root causes and symptoms related to internet use and service in Chelsea & Revere.​​

Digital Access and Equity Plan Process

Digital Divide in the
Pandemic and Beyond

  • School / Education
  • Vaccine Access
  • Housing Stability
  • Workforce Training
  • Economic Development

Phases of Work

  • Evaluation of Current Internet Providers and Levels of Service
  • Analysis of Community Access to Device and Internet

Phase 1A: Existing Conditions (Feb - April)

Phase 1B: Community Needs Assessment (April - June)

  • Identification of Population Specific Challenges and Needs via Survey
  • Analysis of Available Data from Everett School Department and City of Revere
  • Review of Existing Infrastructure in Revere

  • Assessment of Potential Technology Interventions

Phase 2: Infrastructure and Technology Evaluation (June - July)

  • Synthesis of Earlier Phases of Work to Inform Policy, Program, and Capital Investments to Address Specific Barriers and Needs in Revere.

Phase 3: Plan and Program Development (May - July)

The Development of a Digital Access and Equity Plan will:

Advise Capital Investment

Inform Policy Decisions

Identify Program Needs

Advisory Committee Role

Help us (MAPC) ground truth/see information from the community perspective

Provide feedback and response to proposed strategies

Assist in connecting with community members for the community needs assessment

Own this product and guide actions going forward

The Role of Municipal Government

Who's Job is it to Solve the Digital Divide?



School Districts

IT Directors

Housing Authorities

Healthcare Providers

Workforce Boards

Community Based Organizations

Elected Officials

Private Sector

The State???

Elevate the Issue and Coordinate Response

Prioritize Allocation of Funding and Staff Resources

Coordinate Community and Private Sector Partners

Negotiate Cable Franchise Agreements

Permit Access to Public Rights of Way


Executive and Legislative Officals

Role of Municipal Partners in

Addressing the Digital Divide

Connect Individuals to Resources

Subsidized Internet Service and Device Programs

Digital Literacy Training

Public Computer Labs


School Districts, Libraries, & Community Partners

Role of Municipal Partners in

Addressing the Digital Divide

Plan and Invest in Infrastructure

Public WiFi

Municipal Fiber Networks

Local Data Centers

IT / Planning Departments

Role of Municipal Partners in

Addressing the Digital Divide

Diagnosing the Problem

Research Findings from the Chelsea/Revere Digital Access Planning Process

Three Determining Factors of Digital Access

An Adequate Device




Three Determining Factors of Digital Access



Adequate Device





Personal Computer /Laptop

Use of Technology​

Ensuring functioning equipment​

Evaluating quality of information and privacy risks​


~2,565 (15.8%)
Everett households lack internet service.​


of survey respondents do not believe their internet service is affordable.


of survey respondents have had to cancel or change their internet subscription because it is too expensive​

Is it Affordable?

Speed Sources: MLab, Microsoft US Broadband Usage, Demographic Source:  US Census ACS 5 Year, 2019

"Necesitamos que el costo del internet sea mas justo


We need the cost of the internet to be fairer"

Connection in Chelsea & Revere

~6,104 (19%)
Chelsea / Revere households lack internet service.​


of survey respondents do not believe their internet service is affordable.


of survey respondents have had to cancel or change their internet subscription because it is too expensive​

Is it Affordable?

Speed Sources: MLab, Microsoft US Broadband Usage, Demographic Source:  US Census ACS 5 Year, 2019

"Necesitamos que el costo del internet sea mas justo


We need the cost of the internet to be fairer"

Source: US Census, 2010

Total Households in Revere =20,454

Total Households in Chelsea = 11,831

Percent of Households by Size

Moderate activity for a family using multiple devices

100-200 Mbps

200-500 Mbps

High demand activity to keep the whole family connected

500-1,000 Mbps

Unlimited data w/out interruptions for families & heavy use

Light to moderate activity for a small family

50-100 Mbps

 Light activity perfect for single users or couples

25-50 Mbps

download speed classification

Household size further complicates things

Survey question:

How often does more than one person need to be on the Internet at the same time?

Frequently or Always

Survey question:

Have you ever had to change or cancel your internet subscription because it was too expensive?

Spanish Respondents, Yes

Source:  MAPC Survey - 5/26/21

English Respondents, Yes

Device Access 

How accessible are devices?

of Chelsea & Revere households have no computing device at all


of survey respondents disagree with "People in my household always have access to a computer if needed."

About 60%
of Chelsea, Everett and Revere households with internet lease a router from their service provider



Are routers adequate?


Device Source, Computers: US Census ACS 5 Year, 2019.  Device Source, Routers:  MAPC Survey - 6/29/21

"Our internet speed greatly improved after we bought our own router; the routers provided by our provider don't seem to be very good"

Digital Literacy 

Using Technology

of survey respondents agree with "I feel confident in my ability to use a computer/laptop/Chromebook

of survey respondents agree with "I feel confident that I am able to resolve issues related to my internet connection"

Ensuring Functioning Equipment

Evaluating Information and Privacy Risks

Anecdotal information gleaned from stakeholder conversations indicates that there are serious concerns related to privacy, particularly among the immigrant population

Source:  MAPC Survey - 5/26/21

Internet Subsidies

Many families in Massachusetts are eligible for Internet Essentials and the Emergency Broadband benefit fund


Comcast Internet Essentials Plan offers basic internet service for $10 / Month to income eligible households (SNAP, Free or Reduced Lunch, etc)


The Emergency Broadband Benefit program will subsidize $50 for all service plans - as of June 29th only 30,000 households in the program


Only 68,000
households have taken advantage of EBB since May 16 2021

Source:  Universal Services Administrative Co, National Center for Education Statistics, MAPC Digital Access Survey 6/29/2021

"سمعت بأن شركة كومكاست توفر انترنت مجاني لأصحاب الدخل المحدود .هل هذا صحيح؟


I heard that internet service companies provide free internet to people with limited income. Is this true?"

Chelsea & Revere's

Infrastructure Assets

Copper wire slows the connection

Draft Recommendations

An Adequate Device




Data exchange with Internet Service Providers will allow the school district to fully understand which households do not and can not be served by a wired connection.

DESE / Education Superhighway Bridge to Broadband Program

Draft Connection Recommendations

Funding available to deploy WiFi service in and near public properties.  Could be used to create the infrastructure needed for a larger community wide WiFi network.

Mass Broadband Institute Gateway City WiFi Grant

Confirm participation by School District

Work with MAPC to develop program deployment

Release an RFI for Municipal Rooftop Use

Rooftops of municipal buildings could be leveraged by internet service providers like Starry and Netblazer to provide competitive options.

Inventory and RFP municipal roofs, focusing on tall or elevated properties

Next Steps




Draft Connection Recommendations

Understanding the options to facilitate investments in broadband infrastructure will be a critical next step to improving competition and service.

Explore Municipal Infrastructure Investments

Work with a consultant to evaluate technology options and required funding

Release an RFI for "Last Mile" Fiber Connections

Bringing fiber connections into residential buildings will improve speed and reliability for property tenants.

Review fiber maps and ID priority areas for investment.

Next Steps



Embed at least one Tech Goes Home instructor in every school and library in the City.  Ensure courses are offered in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and other community languages.

Brand Cities as "Tech Goes Home" Communities

Draft Literacy Recommendations

Digital Navigators can be embedded in municipal offices, healthcare facilities, schools, or other CBO's to provide direct technology and resource support to the community.

Respond to Digital Navigators RFI

Adopt brand as policy and assess funding requirements.

Coordinate a response to forthcoming MAPC RFI

Reposition Community TV as a Digital Resource Hub

Local cable stations could leverage existing equipment, knowledge, and space for digital content production and skill development.

Establish an advisory board to develop a strategic plan for local access stations

Next Steps




The Emergency Connectivity Fund assists schools and libraries purchase technology equipment and internet service.  Funds should be leveraged to supporting wired connections whenever possible.

Apply for and Distribute Emergency Connectivity Fund Resources

Draft Device Recommendations

A Digital Equity Trust would be a sustained funding source to assist residents purchase devices such as PC's or routers, as well as internet subscriptions when subsidies are unavailable.

Establish a Digital Equity Trust Fund

Submit ECF applications from School District and Library

Establish a trust through legislative action.

Support the Creation of a Tech Refurbishment Center

A Tech Refurbishment program would divert e-waste, enable skill-building, and provide low-cost options for devices in the community.

Coordinate with private sector partners, School District, and Workforce Board

Next Steps




Vision for Digital Access in Chelsea & Revere

Remove barriers to adoption that prevent universal access to reliable and high speed (100/100) internet.

Ensure all residents who desire to improve their digital / technology literacy have a pathway to educational opportunities at a range of skill levels, offered in community appropriate languages and settings.

Augment the capacity of key stakeholders such as IT Departments, School Districts, Libraries, Community based organizations, and municipal staff to address the digital divide

Promote competition among internet service providers offering broadband service.

Chelsea_Revere Digital Access Plan - Final, no maps


Chelsea_Revere Digital Access Plan - Final, no maps

Presentation for Meeting 2 of the Everett Digital Access Working Group

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