GrowSmart Maine and the Kennebec County Digital Equity Working Group submitted to Maine Connectivity Authority a Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion Plan. This is the first draft of a working plan to understand the barriers people face in connecting to our digital world and provides recommendations on how to bridge those barriers.
Please read the plan and share your comments with Hildie Lipson.
Initial takeaways from the plan include:
- Internet availability and affordability are the primary barriers to digital equity in Maine and Kennebec County.
- People need access to affordable devices, reliable internet, and technical support.
- We don’t have enough access to digital skills training and support. People without knowledge of how to connect online will face barriers to advancing their education, applying for jobs, or accessing needed support or health services.
- Internet safety is an urgent concern with few people knowing how to protect themselves.
- There are gaps in Kennebec County towns of broadband infrastructure, with some areas of towns having access only to DSL, poor cell phone service, or no access at all, which meet the FCC’s definition as “underserved.” Broadband equity is achieved when all people and communities are able to access and use affordable, high-speed, reliable internet that meets their long-term needs.