NAMIC builds a bridge

Alliance Project seeks to close digital divide'
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NAMIC (which was formerly known as the National Association of Minorities in Cable) last week unveiled the Digital Bridge Alliance Project, an attempt to close what the Clinton administration has described as the "digital divide."

The project encompasses a two-pronged campaign to "raise awareness about the value of home computers, software and Internet access among people of color."

The target audience includes African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians.

Phase one, which launches June 1, is a bilingual print and on-air PSA campaign-tagline: "Get connected. Our future depends on it"-that will help educate minorities about where they can buy low-cost computers and get Internet access.

"All communities have a right to be part of the information age," said Joe Lawson, NAMIC president. "Although technology is growing tremendously, equal access for people of color is still an important issue that must be addressed."

Comcast was the first MSO to commit to running the spots.

The second phase of the initiative will be to distribute computers (which have been donated by eMachines) to community centers, wire them for access and provide hands-on training to the recipients.

The first three markets-Los Angeles, Detroit and a third to be named later-are expected to be up and surfing by year-end, according to Nancy Hom, founder of the alliance and regional vice president, HBO.

Washington is said to be a candidate for the third spot.

The other partners in the alliance are BET, Comedy Central, Com21, Aha!planet.com, FOX Family Channel, HBO, Lifetime, MTV, TV Land and ZDTV.

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