April 2019 Net Inclusion Conference Report

photo of Barry, Katherine and MaryannaNet Inclusion – NDIA 2019

Conference Report from Partners Bridging the Digital Divide

By: Katherine Lato, Maryanna Milton, Barry Glicklich


We attended the 2019 Net Inclusion conference in Charlotte on April 1-3. The following notes are from the sessions/activities that PBDD attended, reflecting only a subset of the conference. Many of the slides from presentations are available at https://netinclusion2019.sched.com/ along with information about the speakers. Livestream of some sessions (the ones in the main room) are available.

Thank you to The Knight Foundation for providing a lot of support for this conference and to all the sponsors. The food was wonderful, and the opportunities to socialize and network were most appreciated. The NDIA staff, volunteers, and participants once again did a tremendous job of pulling together those engaged in digital inclusion into a community, and we thank them.

Our main takeaways from the conference:

  1. While political philosophy differences may prevent agreement on broadband as a right, whether equipment given away is valued, and the role of government in making broadband affordable, there seems to be agreement that addressing the Homework Gap is something we as society should do to ensure that the next generation is getting the education they need to succeed
  2. Partnership is critical. Many organizations are able to perform “above their weight” because they partner. Example Winterset community schools partner with local businesses to get students broadband.
  3. When presenting information, try to avoid being text heavy. An example of cookies and how they are used can be as non-word focused as having someone wear a t-shirt with a photo of a computer on it walking around taking pieces of cookies and storing them in a cookie jar. Then matching the cookie with the person when they revisit the site. For a full example, see NYC Digital Safety training.
  4. Learning is an ongoing activity, with goal setting being important. People can explore and follow their interest and learn more and teach more.
  5. Providing broadband to the economically challenged can be a good business decision. For example, with prepaid plans, there’s no need for a credit check, and users can pay for access when they can afford it, and when they most need it.
  6. As a community and a movement, we have raised public awareness of the issue of digital inclusion, and potential for progress is evident in the Digital Equity Act being introduced in the US Congress.

The full report (20+ pages) is available as a google document, under terms of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike.

This is our fourth year attending the NDIA conference, and we learn useful things and have a ton of resources to access when we return. Previous conference reports are available from our Newsletter page. Next year’s conference is in Portland, Oregon. Details will be on the NDIA website.

This is the first time we organized a partner get-together, which was a lot of fun and we got input for our next white paper on the stories that inspire us.

tables in a bar Maryanna and Katherine at the partner get-togetherBarry at the partner get-together


  1. Livestream of some sessions – https://livestream.com/internetsociety/netinclusion2019
  2. Photos by Glen McKnight, Creative Commons
  3. Schedule with links to presentations (usually after short speaker bios) – https://netinclusion2019.sched.com
  4. Full conference write-up as a PDF Net Inclusion 2019.
  5. Full conference write-up in a google document.
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