Rhode Island Commerce Initiates Digital Equity Survey to Bridge the Digital Divide

The Survey Collects Important Information to Help Guide the State’s Digital Equity Planning Efforts

The ConnectRI Digital Equity Survey aims to gather valuable feedback from Rhode Island residents about their digital opportunity needs and the barriers to obtaining affordable internet service, devices, and digital skills training. The digital divide impacts how marginalized Rhode Islanders access essential areas, such as education, healthcare, and access to government services. 

The ConnectRI Digital Equity Survey aims to gather valuable feedback from Rhode Island residents about their digital opportunity needs and the barriers to obtaining affordable internet service, devices, and digital skills training. By collecting this information, RI Commerce aims to develop the Rhode Island State Digital Equity Plan, a roadmap for achieving reliable and affordable broadband access, device availability, digital skills training, and cybersecurity awareness for all state residents. 

“In an increasingly digital world, access to high-speed and affordable broadband service is now more important than ever,” said Governor Dan McKee. “It’s critical that we take the steps now to help create a future where every Rhode Islander has the tools to thrive, creating a digitally inclusive society that will become a catalyst for economic prosperity.” 

Rhode Island Commerce is responsible for implementing the Digital Equity Act program within the state, aligning with the federal government's goals of universal access, affordability, and digital inclusion. The digital divide disproportionately affects various segments of the population, including English language learners, veterans, immigrants, adults over 60 years old, rural residents, individuals with disabilities, racial or ethnic minorities, and those living at or below the federal poverty level. 

“Rhode Island’s economic growth is dependent on all people having the opportunity to thrive in this digital age,” said RI Commerce Secretary Liz Tanner. “Bridging the digital divide is an economic necessity, unlocking the full potential of a diverse and inclusive society that will propel Rhode Island towards a future where innovation, productivity, and prosperity have no limits.” 

To ensure a comprehensive and inclusive digital equity plan that effectively addresses the needs of all Rhode Islanders, RI Commerce has created the ConnectRI Digital Equity Survey, available in both English and Spanish. The survey seeks to identify the digital opportunity barriers faced by households in Rhode Island, including challenges related to infrastructure, digital literacy, affordable service, and access to devices. 

"President Biden ensured that digital equity was at the center of expanding high-speed internet access to everyone in America when he signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce and former Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. “We need to hear directly from those who are most impacted by the systemic barriers that prevent some from fully utilizing the internet."

Rhode Island residents are encouraged to participate in the ConnectRI Digital Equity Survey and share their experiences with broadband internet accessibility, affordability, and adoption by visiting https://links.digitunity.org/ri-survey. The deadline for participation is Jan. 19, 2024. 

Widespread input is essential to ensure that the State of Rhode Island develops a comprehensive and inclusive plan that effectively addresses the digital opportunity needs of all Rhode Islanders, focusing on those who may face greater challenges in accessing the internet. By prioritizing the voices and experiences of these diverse communities, we aim to create a digital equity plan that leaves no one behind and fosters equal access to essential digital resources. 

For more information about the ConnectRI Digital Equity Survey and RI Commerce's efforts to promote digital equity in Rhode Island, please visit https://connectri-ricom.hub.arcgis.com/pages/about

About Rhode Island Commerce Corporation 

Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (RI Commerce) is dedicated to fostering economic growth and supporting vibrant communities across the state. As part of its mission, RI Commerce is actively working to bridge the digital divide and ensure that all Rhode Islanders have equal access to the digital resources necessary for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy. 

About Digitunity  

Since the 1980s, Digitunity has advanced digital equity by connecting donors of technology with organizations serving people in need. Its mission is to ensure everyone who needs a computer has one, along with robust internet connectivity and digital literacy skills. To learn more about Digitunity's work, please visit digitunity.org

Source: Digitunity