When advocating for monumental technology infrastructure investments, the White House noted that “broadband Internet is the new electricity. It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected.” The historic bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed in 2021, includes significant investments in digital infrastructure and will provide additional funding for under-resourced and grassroots organizations focused on Digital Equity. This page serves as a guide for donors who want to learn about digital equity, act quickly, and address emerging issues in this space.
In today’s digital economy, access to technology and the Internet is critical for employment, education, connection, and entertainment, and yet nearly one-fourth of the U.S. rural population — 14.5 million people — lack access. And, nearly one-third of the population in tribal areas lacks access. Learn how you can support efforts to expand broadband access.
As people spend more time online, it increases the chances for personal information to be harvested by technology. Learn more about the ethical considerations of expanded technology use.
Technology is rapidly evolving, but many Americans are lacking the digital skills to remain competitive in the workforce. Approximately one in three American workers have limited digital skills and one in six Americans are unable to use email, web search, and other basic functions. Learn more about how digital literacy is a barrier to digital equity.
Nearly one in five teenagers in the U.S. said they had been unable to complete homework assignments due to a lack of a reliable Internet connection. Online learning during the pandemic highlighted how critical technology is for students’ education. Discover how lack of access to technology and the Internet is critical for ensuring student success.
The Digital Equity space is a new and rapidly growing field. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $65 billion in investments for broadband and digital inclusion with over $2.75 Billion allocated over five years for the Digital Equity Act to provide digital skills training, improve online accessibility, and empower rural communities to measure and address their own broadband needs. Funding will become available in 2023, but government officials, nonprofit leaders and private donors should start thinking about how to maximize resources in this emerging sector. In this section, you will find resources to help you understand the digital divide and how to take action to expand digital access.
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