The digital divide has typically been described as the separation of those who can afford and benefit from the internet and digital technologies and those who do not. Digital equity is the status of all people, particularly racially and financially marginalized groups, having the information and communications technology needed to fully participate in modern society. Digital inclusion is the practices of realizing and addressing these inadequacies.
According to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, there are 5 elements to digital inclusion:
The New York State Broadband Assessment Program program is trying to collect as much information as possible about broadband accessibility and needs throughout the state. Please fill out their survey (and, if applicable, do the speed test) for your home and/or business. Libraries can promote this survey in order to get the most accurate results for their respective communities.
Call 1-855-692-2627 to request a paper copy of the survey if it cannot fill it out online.
More resources can be found on the Empire State Broadband Toolkit.
Digital mapping can be used to to learn whether a geographic area or community has reliable access to internet capability.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is a permanent 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 if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
Emergency Broadband Benefit recipients fully enrolled as of December 31, 2021 will automatically continue to receive their current monthly benefit until March 1, 2022. You can learn more the program transition and steps you may need to take to stay enrolled after March 1st, by visiting fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.
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.
Digital Navigators are people trained to address digital inequity issues. They help individual community members with accessing internet connectivity at home, obtaining affordable devices, and developing digital skills.