Accessing high-speed internet is necessary for City of Toronto residents to equitably participate in day to day life. Some Torontonians don't have access to high-speed internet, with cost and literacy as two of the major barriers.
ConnectTO is a Council-supported program to bring access to affordable high-speed internet for all Toronto residents, especially those who are vulnerable and underserved by digital infrastructure.
ConnectTO: Evaluation and Monitoring of Social Impacts on Eligible Residents.
The City is proposing a capstone project related to the social/resident impacts of ConnectTO. While many of the City's actions associated with the ConnectTO program relate to physical infrastructure (e.g. new fibre optic network wires), a primary public policy objective is to decrease the digital divide and provide equitable social and economic opportunities to underserved and vulnerable residents. We know through existing research that physical access to the internet is but one component of this divide. The Capstone project will investigate and evaluate the social impacts of the ConnectTO program on eligible residents
In this project, the Client expects the team to design the following:
In this project, the City of Toronto expects the team to design an approach to evaluate the ConnectTO program to determine the impacts of the program on communities that benefit from ConnectTO. Specifically, the first phase of ConnectTO focuses on the following communities:
- Jane & Finch;
- The Golden Mile;
- Malvern; and
- Thorncliffe Park.
The following requirements and / or questions should be considered:
- Develop a best practice program evaluation methodology that can be used to investigate the impacts of the ConnectTO program on eligible residents.
- Design and conduct surveys and interviews of eligible residents, using both qualitative and quantitative methods, to ascertain the impact of ConnectTO (are eligible residents using it, has it made a difference to the quality of life (access to education, health services, etc.), does the funding model make a significant impact on day-to-day life, in comparison to market rates etc.
- Through surveying techniques, identify residents participating in and/or impacted by ConnectTO
- Develop research questions based on existing primary literature the City has conducted. Potential research questions could include:
- Who is using the service? (Patterns of use, socio-demographics, etc.)
- What are the limitations or challenges to using the service? (Cost, equipment, usability, availability, stigma that may be associated with products aimed at low-income residents etc.)
- How can the service and up-take be improved? (How to improve connectivity and enable citizen connection, not just to internet though how to connect to opportunities, civic participation, etc.)
- Are there gaps in the service?
- Do people have the digital literacy to maximize connectivity through ConnectTO?
- Others, to be determined as the program grows.