Digital Literacy, Adoption & Inclusion

Digital Literacy, Adoption & Inclusion

If broadband infrastructure and service represent one side of the connectivity coin, the flip side is broadband utilization – including digital literacy, adoption, and inclusion. While the relatively simple and well-documented barriers to the former often include population sparsity, geography, and lack of economic return on investment, barriers to utilization are more complex and less understood. Adoption and literacy rates are of particular concern in black and brown communities and rural regions across the state. For a state, local community, or individual family to compete in the 21st century digital economy, these barriers must be overcome. At the same time Connect Illinois invests in broadband infrastructure, the program will leverage complementary efforts to ensure that Illinoisans have both the requisite broadband service and necessary broadband skills.

Leveraging broadband for innovation in economic development or quality of life requires more than a fast connection. This is particularly true when it comes to encouraging consumers to utilize broadband once it is available. Accordingly, Connect Illinois will augment its historic investment in broadband infrastructure with value-added work to prime the broadband pump through attention to digital literacy, adoption, and inclusion for consumers.

For a state, local community, or individual family to compete in the 21st century digital economy, all barriers to broadband access must be overcome. At the same time Connect Illinois invests in broadband infrastructure, the program will leverage complementary effort to ensure that all Illinoisans have both the requisite broadband service and necessary broadband knowhow.
More or better broadband deployment alone won’t close the broadband access gap, but an historic infrastructure investment matched with meaningful civic engagement will position Illinois communities and consumers alike to compete in an increasingly digital global economy – and enjoy the advances in quality of life that come with connectivity of all kinds.