The internet is a critical part of everyday life. Yet one in five Californians do not have access to affordable broadband service, technological devices, and the skills to use them. Going without a reliable broadband connection can affect the ability to land a better job, provide a better education to the next generation, or fully access medical care. The gap between those with broadband connection and those without is known as the “digital divide.”
Over the next few months, the California Department of Technology will be leveraging a federal planning grant to develop a state Digital Equity Plan. When completed, the plan will deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding to California and ensure that the state’s residents have affordable, high-speed internet access and the skills and tools needed to participate in the digital economy.
To produce a Digital Equity Plan that works for all Californians, the state needs everyone’s help! Commit to working towards an equitable digital future by taking the California Digital Equity Survey and encouraging those in your community to do the same by June 30, 2023.
Feedback collected from this survey will help form a plan to fund programs that provide reliable internet, computers, and the skills to use them. The state needs to hear especially from those who struggle most with accessing the internet. This includes English-language learners, veterans, immigrants, adults over 60 years old, people who live in rural areas, individuals with disabilities, minorities, and those living at or below the federal poverty level.
Drafting the plan will be a major milestone toward enabling better digital access for those across the state, so it is crucial that as many community members as possible participate in this planning process while there is still time.