Digital access is a catchy term for a troubling Philadelphia problem: At least 41 percent of households don't have Internet access.

 

That's according to KEYSPOT, the public-private Freedom Rings partnership tackling the issue through training, awareness and launching new neighborhood computer centers in the city.

 

To show just how integral the Web is in modern life, the partnership -- which includes the City of Philadelphia, Drexel University and the Urban Affairs Coalition -- is asking Philadelphians to go without the Internet for 41 hours from 3 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday, when the second annual Philly Tech Week presented by AT&T officially kicks off.

 

"We run the risk of entrenching a digital underclass," said Charles Kaylor, a Temple University assistant professor whose research includes broadband adoption.

 

The first Internet Fast will come before the region's heaviest technology binge yet: More than 80 events celebrating the region's digital footprint, from entrepreneurship to development to, yes, digital access issues.

 

Before celebrating technology for a week, the group's organizers want any Philadelphian who depends on the Internet for work or fun -- job applications, research, networking, connecting with friends -- to see just how difficult it can be to go without, if only for a couple days.

With better awareness can come more support for broadening digital access in the city, say organizers.

Says Siobhan Reardon, the President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia, which is a KEYSPOT partner: "We have to solve this problem in a variety of ways."

If you go




Here's a list of Philly Tech Week events starting Monday that focuses on digital access -- all free and open to the public. It's the second annual Tech Week.



OpenAccessPhilly Showcase: A pool of technology-focused, public-private partnerships between the City of Philadelphia and other organizations impacting city residents



When: Monday, 12-1 p.m.

Where: WHYY headquarters, Old City

Frankford Computer Training for Constituents

When: Tuesday, 12-1:30 p.m.

Where: Recreation Center, 4900 Griscom St.

What it takes to be a black tech entrepreneur

When: Thursday, 12-1 p.m.

Where: WHYY headquarters, Old City