on Oct 02, 2023
HR&A Advisors celebrates Digital Inclusion Week!
According to the 2019 U.S. Census, 36 million households do not subscribe to a wireline broadband service —26 million of these households are in urban areas and 10 million are in rural areas. The lower a household’s income, the less likely they are to have access to affordable, reliable broadband service. With roughly 1 in 5 American households still offline, closing the digital divide is critically important to promoting equity, economic growth, and community well-being. In our increasingly digital world, access to reliable internet is necessary for all Americans to meaningfully engage and function in our society — you need it to pay bills, access healthcare and education, apply for jobs, and much more.
This week, HR&A Advisors will be joining more than 900 organizations for Digital Inclusion Week (DIW), an annual week of awareness, recognition, and celebration launched by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA). Please join us this week, October 2–6, 2023, to promote digital equity in our communities!
What is Digital Inclusion and how is it different from Digital Equity?
According to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, there is a difference between Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion:
“Digital Equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy and economy. Digital Equity is necessary for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services.”
“Digital Inclusion refers to the activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).”This includes access to affordable and reliable broadband, devices that meet needs of the user, and digital literacy training.”
The National Broadband Resource Hub we helped launch was created to help communities achieve both, and we and our partners who created the Hub believe that, “addressing these issues involves thinking through barriers to internet adoption and effective, community-tailored solutions.”
The more certain segments of our society remain marginalized by the digital divide, the higher the societal costs become. Without access, the complete engagement of citizens in nearly every facet of society, encompassing economic prosperity, educational attainment, positive health outcomes, and civic participation, is compromised. Those with access continue to benefit, while those without face increasing disadvantages.
In this historic moment when unprecedented federal funding is available for governments, non-profit organizations, and mission-driven organizations to invest in digital equity and inclusion, HR&A has been focused on helping communities understand opportunities, strategically plan and set goals, and execute solutions. We are working with clients like the National League of Cities and the Local Infrastructure Hub on programs to help communities make the most of this moment, like this Digital Equity Act Competitive Grant Program Bootcamp, which offers attendees vital information about funding for digital equity programs made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The United Nations has recognized the internet as a fundamental human right that should be extended to every global citizen, with a particular emphasis on safeguarding “online freedom” as a fundamental right that all nation-states must nurture.
Learn more about our work expanding access to reliable broadband and complete this survey to let the NDIA know how you plan to take action this Digital Inclusion Week!