Members of the legislature, studying the “digital divide” between those with full internet and those lacking broadband access, are coming to Haverhill next week to view a local success story.
Reps. Andy X. Vargas and Thomas Golden Jr. of Lowell and MakeIT Haverhill Co-Founder Keith Boucher are hosting members of the Special Legislative Commission on Broadband Equity for a visit of MakeIT Haverhill Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 10 a.m.
“MakeIT Haverhill is driving access to broadband internet in Haverhill by teaching digital literacy to our neighbors as well as providing free access in our facility. Our thought is that broadband internet should be treated like a utility, like electricity, a necessity of life that every household has installed,” said Boucher.
The divide between internet haves and have nots was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic as thousands of students were ushered to the internet for remote classroom instruction.
The Commission was formed as part of this year’s state budget and is tasked with studying whether residents have equal access to telecommunications service, including broadband internet, across the Commonwealth. The panel expects to make recommendations.
“Keith and everyone at MakeIT Haverhill have done tremendous work throughout and before the pandemic to ensure Haverhill residents are connected to the internet. More and more, our daily lives become dependent on reliable and affordable internet access and digital literacy. I’m excited and grateful to Leader Golden for allowing us to host the Broadband Equity Commission and to highlight the work being done in Haverhill, and discuss the potential to expand it state-wide,” said Vargas.
MakeIT Haverhill is located at 301 Washington St., Haverhill.