Copyright 2024 SPARK

Join us for an insightful hybrid event, “Affordable Housing, AI and Big Data: Transforming the digital divide into digital dividends” where local politicians, nonprofit staff, and community leaders, including librarians, will come together to explore the development of Community Owned Internet Networks (COIN). This event will showcase the transformative potential of AI & Big Data tools in identifying optimal locations and solutions to promote digital equity. Randy Luening, CEO (big data for First Responders), will demo his big data BroadbandToolkit maps for Washtenaw County, MI.


Our Executive Director, Dr Ron Suarez, was involved with AI when he founded Arbor Intelligent Systems in 1988. According to Dr.Suarez, “Broadband Internet has proven to be an essential utility for the education of children and simple tasks like applying for a job. Yet, incumbent ISPs who participated in the creation of the digital divide are being granted exclusive access to entire neighborhoods, because they are allowed to build private access conduits that block competition, while often receiving federal dollars in aid.”


So what can we do? Our expert panel will demonstrate how big data analytics can map current Internet access, distinguishing between served, underserved, and unserved areas. By analyzing demographics such as income levels and ethnicity, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of the digital landscape in Washtenaw County. Attendees will learn how data-driven insights can pinpoint disparities in Internet availability and affordability, enabling the creation of targeted, community-focused broadband solutions.


Together, we will discuss strategies to harness these insights, fostering collaborations that drive the deployment of sustainable, high-speed Internet networks that meet the diverse needs of our residents. This event aims to empower stakeholders with the knowledge and tools necessary to bridge the digital divide, ensuring equitable Internet access for all in Washtenaw County.