D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray(D) is set to announce the network and take questions at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning when city officials announce the “lighting up” of the new D.C. Community Access Network (DC-CAN) on Wednesday.

A network capable of 100-gigabit ethernet speed that allows for real-time speed in accessing information and downloading data could mean serious change in a city where the “digital divide” — the rates at which people of different races and income groups engage in online activities — is perceived to be very real. In D.C., this disparity tends to show itself in communities east of the Anacostia River, but residents in every quadrant have said they need better computer literacy skills. The problem of access shows itself throughout the rest of the country, too; in the United States, people need computer skills to do everything from research healthcare providers to apply for jobs.

It will be interesting to hear what Gray has to say Wednesday. Experts say government intervention works when people are struggling to [literally] connect and learn the skills they need for online activities. Will a faster network mean more available training for people who need it?

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