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Lack of Digital Literacy Prevents 1.4 Million Texans from Adopting Broadband

Contributor: John Walker, Research Analyst

Digital literacy, or the skills needed to use a computer and the Internet, are important in today’s workforce, as six of ten employed adults in the United States use the Internet at work. However, 66 million Americans do not have the ability to access a computer or the Internet due to a lack of digital literacy skills. Today, Connected Texas has released a new report called “Making the Connection through Digital Literacy” to address this topic among Texans without these skills.

Connected Texas found that 20% of Texas non-adopters, or 1.4 million adult Texans, say that a lack of digital literacy is their main barrier to adopting home broadband service. That number can be broken down further to 446,000 who say they fear that the Internet is too complicated. That is followed by 357,000 who say that they do not know what broadband is or anything about it, 310,000 who have concerns about fraud or identity theft, and 290,000 who are not comfortable using a computer. The study shows that this issue affects Texans similarly regardless of where they live, their racial and ethnic identities, their educational attainment, or how much money they make. The only exception is with age, as older non-adopters tend to cite digital literacy more often than younger non-adopters (51 years of age is the median age of Texans who find digital literacy a main barrier, compared to 42 years of age for all non-adopters in Texas).

There are a number of programs underway in Texas to bring digital literacy training to those without the proper skills in accessing computers and the Internet. The Texas Connects Coalition  and the Technology Expertise, Access, and Learning for all Texans (TEAL) are examples of two digital literacy programs. 

In addition to those programs, Connected Texas launched its Every Community Online (ECO) program this year to offer free training on computer and Internet skills to Texans across the state. The program includes training in computer use, Internet use, consumer equipment, basic computer maintenance, and help with selecting service providers.

To learn more about digital literacy in Texas and Connected Texas’ Every Community Online program, read the latest report by Connected Texas here. And make sure to Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook for the very latest news on Texas broadband access, adoption, and use.