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Enhancing digital equity: The importance of digital literacy programs

Pittsburgh, PA (June 12, 2024) - In today's increasingly interconnected world, digital literacy is a cornerstone of educational success and economic inclusion. As states grapple with the challenge of ensuring that all students have access to the necessary digital tools and skills, comprehensive digital literacy programs become essential in bridging the Digital Divide. This blog explores the importance of such programs and highlights key data points to show why states should consider digital equity and inclusion initiatives.

The current landscape of school internet connectivity

Recent data reveals that 74% of school districts now meet minimum internet connectivity standards, up from 57% in 2016. This improvement means that an additional 5 million students have gained access to adequate internet since 2022. However, despite this progress, significant gaps remain, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

The economic imperative for broadband access

A comprehensive report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce underscores the vital role of broadband in education. The paper highlights that high-speed internet access is not just an educational necessity but also an economic one. Investments in broadband infrastructure can drive economic growth, create jobs, and promote inclusive development. Ensuring that all students, regardless of their geographic location, have access to reliable internet is essential for preparing a workforce capable of competing in a digital economy.

The FCC's ACP survey insights

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently conducted a survey on the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which aims to make internet access more affordable for low-income households. The survey results indicate that while many households have benefited from reduced costs, there is still a lack of awareness and utilization of available resources. This highlights the need for targeted outreach and education efforts. However, it is crucial to note that the ACP is no longer being funded, which places even greater urgency on finding alternative solutions to continue supporting low-income households in maintaining internet access.

Enhancing Digital Equity Key Insights

Promoting inclusive economies through rural broadband investments

According to the Center for American Progress, investments in rural broadband are pivotal for promoting an inclusive economy. The report states that enhanced broadband infrastructure in rural areas can lead to substantial economic benefits, including increased employment opportunities and improved quality of life. By focusing on these underserved regions, states can ensure that all residents can participate fully in the digital age.

Spotlight on digital literacy programs

Digital literacy programs play a crucial role in addressing these disparities. Two noteworthy initiatives that exemplify effective strategies are Connected Nation’s Teens Teach Tech, powered by AT&T, and the Digital Skills Training initiative.

  1. Teens Teach Tech, powered by AT&T: This innovative program empowers teenagers to become digital ambassadors within their communities. By training teens to teach digital skills to family members and other community members, the program not only enhances digital literacy but also fosters intergenerational learning and engagement. This peer-led approach ensures that the training is relatable and impactful, promoting a culture of continuous digital learning.
  2. Digital Skills Training initiative: This program provides structured digital literacy training for individuals of all ages, helping them navigate the digital world with confidence. The curriculum covers essential skills such as online safety, basic computer operations, and effective internet use. By making these resources accessible, communities can ensure that everyone benefits from the digital revolution.


As we look to the future, the importance of digital literacy and broadband access cannot be overstated. The data and insights from recent reports make it clear that significant strides have been made, but there is still much work to be done. States must prioritize digital equity and inclusion initiatives to ensure that all residents, regardless of their location or economic status, have the tools and opportunities to succeed in the digital age.

By embracing digital literacy programs and investing in broadband infrastructure, states can foster a more inclusive and prosperous society. Collaborative efforts, informed by successful models and comprehensive strategies, will be key to making digital equity a reality for all.


  1. "School Internet Connectivity Data," eSchool News, 2024.
  2. "US Chamber Paper on Broadband and Education," U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  3. "US Chamber Paper on Broadband and Education," U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  4. "ACP Survey," Federal Communications Commission.
  5. "Rural Broadband Investments Promote Inclusive Economy," Center for American Progress.
  6. Teens Teach Tech, powered by AT&T
  7. Digital Skills Training initiative


About the author: Ashley Pino is a Senior Marketing Specialist for Connected Nation. Ashley is responsible for communications and marketing functions that broadly publicize Connected Nation (CN)’s mission, educate stakeholders on Digital Divide issues, and lead to new programs and projects that expand CN’s social impact.