What is Digital Equity?

Digital equity is achieved when all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity that is needed for full participation in the society and economy of the United States. Despite significant growth in technology use across various sectors, much work remains to ensure all learners, families/caregivers, and communities have access to reliable, high-speed broadband and technology tools for learning.

The 3 A’s of Access:

  • Availability refers to the level and sufficiency of coverage in delivering high-speed, reliable wired or wireless broadband services and sufficiency of technology tools for learning. Barriers and strategies related to availability align with typical understandings of “access, ” focused on whether learners and their families/caregivers can connect to reliable, high- speed broadband through a device and the necessary physical infrastructure from home and in their communities.

  • Affordability refers to the ability to pay for the cost of installing and maintaining a high-speed and reliable broadband connection and technology tools for learning. Barriers and strategies related to affordability impact not only the ability for learners and families to get connected, but also to have a reliable, high-speed broadband connection and to maintain that connection— including as their circumstances change over time.

  • Adoption refers to the process by which an individual obtains daily access to broadband at a speed, quality, and capacity that is necessary, with the digital skills that are necessary to participate online, on a personal device, and on a secure and convenient network. Barriers and strategies related to adoption tend to focus on human-level challenges and strategies. They go beyond whether reliable, high-speed broadband is available and affordable, considering whether the necessary information, support, and skill-building opportunities are provided.

Reference to any non-U.S. government organization, event or product does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation or favoring of that organization, event or product and is strictly for the information and convenience of the public.

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