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Why YOU Should Care About Digital Inclusion

Louisville, Ky. (October 15, 2018) - Before I started working at Connected Nation, the terms “digital exclusion” and “Digital Divide” never crossed my mind. Why would they?

Kids And Internet Many kids may have access at school but can't finish their homework assignments at home because they don't have internet. This is so prevalent that there's a term for it. It's called "The Homework Gap."

I have fast, reliable internet access pretty much any time I want it. I use it every single day. Among dozens of other tasks I do online, I pay my bills, track my medical appointments, connect with my family and friends across the country, keep up on news and weather, and watch Netflix whenever I want.

I’ve got access to all kinds of opportunities — which included finding my current position in March 2017 with Connected Nation as its Communications Manager. Since then, I’ve learned just what “digital exclusion” and the “Digital Divide” mean, and it’s not a pretty picture.

There are people in my own city who don’t have that same access I do. These are families with kids who can’t get to their homework assignments; senior citizens who are alone and find it hard to stay in touch with their loved ones; struggling single parents who are unable work from home and save on child care; and veterans who can’t easily access their benefits.

In the year and a half I’ve been the Communications Manager at CN, I’ve met and talked to people whose lives have been transformed by simply getting broadband access and then learning how to leverage it — from a single mom who had been incarcerated to a retiree who needed supplemental income to whole communities that were dying because they lacked broadband access.

Each one needed help, and Connected Nation responded.

These are people and communities who were being left out of an entire world of opportunity that now are able to leverage the power of broadband.

This week is International Digital Inclusion Week, which is meant to call attention to how broadband access can change lives and communities. Consider how expanding broadband access can help solve so many problems we deal with in our communities, towns, and states:

  • In your town, a high school graduate can’t apply for colleges — internet access would solve that.

  • In your state, there are people who can’t get to a doctor — telehealth would solve that.

  • In our country, there are people dealing with physical disabilities who want to work but it’s a challenge to travel — telework would solve that.

  • In our world, there are people who manufacturer goods but are stuck in poverty because they don’t have a way to sell them — access to a global market would solve that.

Working at Connected Nation has changed my view of the world — both close to home and far away. I understand now what the Digital Divide is and that it’s about a whole lot more than just technology. It’s about the gap between the haves and have-nots and how that gap hurts us all.

So, this week I ask you to really think about why YOU should care about digital inclusion and closing the Digital Divide forever.

Why does it matter for others to have the same access you enjoy? Think about how many daily tasks you complete online thanks to reliable internet access.

Then think about how lack of digital access for everyone truly affects your community — from lack of education to health care to those who are cut off and alone.

Then, I invite you to join us in the fight and work toward including all people and making the term “Digital Divide” a thing of the past. Learn more by clicking here.

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About the Author: Jessica Denson is Connected Nation's Communications Manager. She is responsible for overall brand strategy, which includes building program recognition through digital communications, media relations, and marketing opportunities.

Jessica works mostly out of her home office in Louisville, Ky, where having internet is vital for her job. Her "coworker" Moon Pie (pictured below) agrees.

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Other Digital Inclusion Blogs:

The Role of Better Broadband Mapping

How Digital Inclusion Can Fight Extreme Poverty 

Why Getting a Degree Now Requires Internet Access