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Digital Inclusion Toolkit

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) defines digital inclusion as “the activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).  This includes 5 elements: 1) affordable, robust broadband internet service; 2) internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user; 3) access to digital literacy training; 4) quality technical support; and 5) applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration. Digital Inclusion must evolve as technology advances. Digital Inclusion requires intentional strategies and investments to reduce and eliminate historical, institutional and structural barriers to access and use technology.”

The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act’s programming includes both an infrastructure component that offsets capital expenses in the deployment of broadband in unserved areas and a digital literacy component. Grants are awarded to Tennessee state libraries to meet digital literacy needs such as class instruction or hotspots. More information on the Tennessee State Libraries and Archives grants can be found by contacting jennifer.cowan-henderson@tn.gov.   

In our effort to address the fifth element of “applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation, and collaboration”, we have compiled resources from a myriad of organizations to be easily accessible and help communities in their digital inclusion efforts. These resources can be found below.

 

Getting Started with Digital Inclusion

Broadband USA's Adoption Toolkit:  Based on lesson’s learned from grantees, NTIA created this guide to support communities in increasing broadband adoption.  This toolkit includes many success stories from across the country and important considerations when launching an adoption program.

National Digital Inclusion Alliance Guidebook: This guidebook is concerned with one  organizational choice that digital inclusion leaders in some communities are making: community-wide digital inclusion coalitions. Libraries, community-based organizations, local governments, housing authorities and others in cities across the country organize coalitions to cooperatively address equitable access and use of communication technologies.

Digital Inclusion Start-Up Manual: This manual is intended to provide guidance to individuals looking to increase access and use of technology in disadvantaged communities through digital literacy training, affordable home broadband, affordable devices and tech support. These efforts might take place within a community-based organization, a library, a housing authority, a local government or other community locations.

Access and Inclusion in the Digital Age:  This is a resource guide designed for local governments to support the advancement of digital inclusion.  The guide was developed by a team of six cities from across the country (including Chattanooga).

ConnectHome Playbook:  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created this playbook to help housing communities build partnerships to narrow the digital divide.

 

Access (Low-Cost Options) and Devices

Staying Connected During the COVID-19 Quarantine: In response to the quarantine, several broadband providers are temporarily offering free internet service, waiving disconnect and late fees, providing access to wi-fi hot spots and other measures to help people at home access the services they need.

Free and Low-Cost Internet Plans: NDIA’s list of current offers from major ISPs that will help low-income households to acquire service at no cost, or at very affordable prices. Most have eligibility limitations linked to income or program enrollment. The list also includes established, nationally available low-cost plans offered by nonprofit organizations.

PCs for People: PCs for People refurbishes desktop and laptop computers for distribution to eligible recipients. To receive technology from PCs for People, a potential recipient must be below 200% poverty level or be currently enrolled in an income-based government assistance program.

National Digital Inclusion Alliance Discount Internet Guidebook: This Guidebook describes affordable broadband plans for disadvantaged American households offered by commercial internet providers (or in two cases, nonprofit resellers of a commercial service).

EveryoneOn: Find low-cost internet and affordable devices in your area.

 

Digital Literacy Curriculum Guides

Nashville Public Library Courses: Search for various courses such as basic computer skills or health information searching. Courses take 5-20 minutes to complete.

Tech Goes Home Chattanooga Modules: Tech Goes Home Chattanooga has compiled video tutorials and modules on a range of topics from social media guides to job search and employment resources.

GCFLearnFree: The Goodwill Community Foundation aims to help communities learn the essential skills they need to live and work in the 21st century by offering more than 200 topics, including more than 7,000 lessons, more than 1,000 videos, and more than 50 interactives and games, completely free.

Techboomers: Techboomers is a free educational website that teaches older adults and other inexperienced Internet users with basic computer skills about websites that can help improve their quality of life.

 

Funding Opportunities

BroadbandUSA Funding Guide: This guide provides a comprehensive list of funding opportunities offered by the federal government for a myriad of purposes and open to various entities as recipients.

Mobile Beacon: Mobile Beacon is dedicated to providing affordable, mobile, high-speed internet access to schools, libraries, and nonprofits so they can better carry out their missions. Check their website for various funding opportunities offered throughout the year.

 

Community Examples

Nashville Public Library

Charlotte Digital Inclusion Alliance

Kansas City's Digital Playbook 2.0