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Digital Inclusion and Adoption

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Digital divide is the issue. Digital equity is the goal. Digital inclusion is the work.

According to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, as cited here, digital divide, digital equity, and digital inclusion are defined as the following:

Digital Divide

The digital divide is the gap between those who have affordable access, skills, and support to effectively engage online and those who do not. As technology constantly evolves, the digital divide prevents equal participation and opportunity in all parts of life, disproportionately affecting people of color, Indigenous peoples, households with low incomes, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, and older adults.

Digital Equity

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.

It is important to note here the use of “equity” vs. “equality.” When we use the word equity, we accurately acknowledge the systemic barriers that must be dismantled before achieving equality for all.

Digital Inclusion

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 five elements:

1. Affordable, robust broadband internet service;

2. Internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user;

3. Access to digital literacy training;

4. Quality technical support; and

5. Applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration.

Digital Inclusion must evolve as technology advances. Digital Inclusion requires intentional strategies and investments to reduce and eliminate historical, institutional and structural barriers to access and use technology.


Examples of Adoption and Digital Inclusion in Indiana

Are you a city, town or county with a Digital Inclusion Plan? If so, consider submitting it to INbroadband@lg.in.gov

Are you a city, town or county with a Digital Inclusion Plan? If so, consider submitting it to INbroadband@lg.in.gov


FCC Affordable Connectivity Plan

The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more.

The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Who Is Eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program?

A household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program if the household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:

  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income internet program;
  • Participates in one of these assistance programs:
    • The National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
    • SNAP
    • Medicaid
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • WIC
    • Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
    • or Lifeline;
  • Participates in one of these assistance programs and lives on Qualifying Tribal lands:
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
    • Tribal TANF
    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
    • Tribal Head Start (income based)

Two Steps to Enroll

  1. Go to AffordableConnectivity.gov to submit an application or print out a mail-in application.
  2. Contact your preferred participating provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.

Some providers may have an alternative application that they will ask you to complete.

Eligible households must both apply for the program and contact a participating provider to select a service plan.


New Programs Through IIJA

The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs that promote digital equity and inclusion. They aim to ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The three programs are:

  • State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program: A $60 million grant program for states and territories to develop digital equity plans.
  • State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program: A $1.44 billion grant program for states and territories. It will fund an annual grant program for five years in support of digital equity projects and the implementation of digital equity plans.
  • Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program: A $1.25 billion grant program. It will fund annual grant programs for five years to implement digital equity projects.

To learn more, visit Broadband USA’s Grant Programs page here.