Why Do We Need the Digital Equity Act?

For the U.S. to be an innovation leader and continue to grow our economy, we must begin with everyone having affordable access to broadband, devices, and training for digital literacy skills.

According to the U.S. Census American Community Survey (source):

  • 33% of households do not have wireline broadband such as cable, fiber optic or DSL.
  • Half of the households with incomes below $20,000 are without home or cellular internet service.
  • 31% of persons aged 65 and older do not have a computer or have a computer but no Internet.

From the Brookings Institute (source):

  • “Digitalization has now proceeded to the point that broad exposure to basic entry-level office applications is essential for everyone. And such exposure may matter more than IT pipeline initiatives if the United States is going to build an advanced economy that works for all.” (pp.17-18)
  • “By 2016, no fewer than 229 initially low-digital occupations, or 48 percent of them, employing 33 million workers in 2002, had exited the low-digital category and become medium-digital or even high-digital occupations, marking the steady upskilling of even lower-end jobs accessible to new or less-skilled workers.” (p. 44)

From the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (source):

  • Despite the U.S. holding the top position for current GDP value, the nation falls to 13th place out of 32 countries for digital reading skills among 15-year-old students, behind nations such as China, Canada, and Australia.

In the U.S., programs addressing access to the internet have developed locally and been funded (minimally) locally. The Digital Equity Act will assist these local digital inclusion programs by creating two new federal grant programs. The gaps in access are detrimental to our country and the rapid changes in technology cause the gaps to continue growing. We need #DigitalEquityNow. 

Casey & Kyra – Chattanooga, TN.
Parents are able to help their children with homework after receiving technology and literacy classes through Tech Goes Home.

Elizabeth – Portland, Oregon
Elizabeth was unable to find work for months until she received access to technology with the help of MetroEast, allowing her to find work within two weeks.

Elizabeth – Seattle, WA
With access to technology and digital literacy classes through Seattle Housing Authority, Elizabeth has been able to find housing, complete school and find work.

Multiple People – Kansas City, MO
Visitors of the Kansas City Public Library share their technology needs and the impact the computer lab has on their lives.

Chris – Minneapolis, MN
Completeing a digital literacy class through Minnesota Literacy Council has increased Chris’s confidence, helped him overcome depression, and allowed him to get back into the workforce.

Joseph – Charlotte, NC
After completing digital literacy classes through the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, Joseph was able to apply for a promotion, give his son a laptop and share his new digital knowledge with his family.

If you would like to submit a video, email caitlin@digitalinclusion.org

This website is sponsored by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance