FCC Releases Digital Inclusion Plan: “Strategies and Recommendations for Promoting Digital Inclusion”

With this plan, several of the following goals laid out in the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order are or can be realized. First, this plan marks another step in the Commission’s efforts to better understand non-price barriers to digital inclusion and to facilitate existing and forthcoming efforts addressing them. This plan also seeks to promote and highlight digital inclusion initiatives generally and those that leverage the modernized Lifeline program to bring broadband access to more Americans. In this regard, the Bureau has taken into account recent research from experts and builds upon earlier efforts by the Commission to study the impact of digital inclusion initiatives.

Second, this plan explores how the Bureau can engage consumer groups, community groups, philanthropic organizations, local governments, and corporations to increase broadband adoption and digital literacy among those who remain offline. At present, many efforts exist to provide individuals and families with affordable service, equipment, digital literacy training, and relevant programming. In Section III below, we present strategies digital inclusion stakeholders are executing in order to be most effective and highlight many of those efforts. For example, we highlight efforts to tailor digital inclusion programs to the individuals’ interests, cultural realities, and experiences in both rural and urban areas. We also spotlight programs that seek to co-locate digital inclusion programs with other services and programs used by low-income consumers and highlight efforts by trusted community partners to leverage philanthropic and corporate resources to bring affordable equipment and services to low-income consumers. Going forward, we encourage connecting these efforts, through coalition building and regular meetings, so that parties can more effectively work together to deliver comprehensive digital inclusion assistance to communities. Accordingly, in Section IV, we make recommendations for how the Commission can facilitate digital inclusion initiatives through outreach to consumers and stakeholders to educate them about uses for broadband and available resources, like existing programs that may complement or facilitate their work. We also identify partnerships with other federal agencies and local governments that may help public and private stakeholders better assist local communities. Finally, we suggest policy innovations that make the broadband marketplace more transparent and affordable for low-income households and more amendable to promoting digital inclusion in addition to broadband access and adoption.

Download and read the plan from the FCC at https://www.fcc.gov/document/strategies-and-recommendations-promoting-digital-inclusion

 

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