Hawai’i developing its first state plan to bridge digital inequity
The State of Hawaiʻi’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is developing the state’s first digital equity plan.
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance defines digital equity as all individuals and communities having the information technology capacity needed to fully participate in society, democracy and the economy.
The state’s digital equity plan has a goal of creating these conditions in communities throughout Hawai‘i. When final, this plan will serve as a roadmap for actions and investments to achieve digital equity for residents over the next five years.
“Our kamaʻāina and ʻohana are missing out on critical opportunities — whether that is progressing in their career, connecting with friends, taking care of their health and so much more — due to the digital divide,” said Burt Lum, state broadband coordinator of the Hawaiʻi Broadband and Digital Equity Office.
“We believe that with this plan, Hawaiʻi will be well-positioned to receive critical federal funding to address these issues and be a leader nationwide in digital equity,” he said.
To identify and address the gaps in the state’s communities, the project team will be conducting research through stakeholder interviews, focus group sessions, data for mapping statewide resources, and engaging with populations specifically dealing with digital inequity.
The team will ask community members to share their:
- Personal experience with the barriers they face with connecting to the internet
- Feedback on what has worked well to help them connect to the internet
- Participation in any current digital equity programs and resources (digital literacy training, free Wi-Fi at the library, etc.)
- Recommendations on what the state can invest in to make a difference and how the public, private and nonprofit sectors can address digital equity in the state
“These important conversations and collaborations will inform the planning effort as the team determines the most effective and meaningful use of funding in our state and develops a comprehensive strategic plan to bridge the digital divide,” said Dane Wicker, deputy director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. “This is a critical opportunity and an appeal to everyone to weigh in on how we address digital equity.”