Digital Equity EXPLAINED

What is Digital Equity? 

The work of digital equity is to close the digital divide between those who can access the internet and those who can’t. Digital equity is no longer optional. Digital access is necessary to be able to maintain employment, access education, and have financial security. 

Lack of access to the digital world disproportionately affects people of color, Indigenous peoples, households with low incomes, people with disabilities, people living in rural areas, those with limited English or literacy, and older adults.

Digital Equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy. Digital Equity is necessary for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services. Digital Equity includes not only having the infrastructure (poles and wires) available to your household but also being able to afford to connect to the internet, having a device, and the knowledge, skills, and education to use the internet. Digital equity and inclusion is part of a larger vision for Kennebec County centering on the goals of health, education, and financial stability of its residents.

©National Digital Inclusion Alliance

Kennebec County Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion Plan (PDF)

In the first part of 2023, a group of Kennebec County residents and representatives of nonprofit organizations developed the first iteration of a Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion (DEDI) Plan for Kennebec County. The goal of the Plan is to close the digital divide. This plan was developed in collaboration with Maine Connectivity Authority and National Digital Equity Center to contribute to a statewide Broadband Action Plan. 

This planning process will help identify priorities for investment in broadband and digital equity for each of Maine’s 16 counties and will serve as the state’s five-year roadmap to bring the economic, health, educational, and social benefits of high-speed internet to all people in Maine. 

Elements of Kennebec County’s DEDI Plan include investing in Digital Navigators and Digital Educators, connecting people to affordable devices, increasing the supply of loan-able hotspots from area libraries, and helping people learn about and sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program. We want to create a strong ethic for digital equity in Kennebec County by offering an array of resources that people need to be digitally connected as determined by input from a variety of sectors and interested organizations and individuals. This initial plan is just the beginning. We will continue to gather information, track resources already in place, and implement programs as funding becomes available. 

Please contact Hildie Lipson if you want more information on joining the Kennebec County Digital Equity Working Group to help make recommendations, and help continue to refine, and implement the DEDI plan for the Waterville/Augusta/Gardiner corridor and area towns. 

Read the report. Your comments are welcomed.

Learn more about broadband initiatives and programs:

News and Updates

Maine’s ACP Week of Action August 4-12, 2023

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal program that helps households afford internet service. Eligible households can get $30 off monthly internet (or up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands). The week of August 4-12 in Maine is...

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Update: Community Broadband Meeting

GrowSmart Maine hosted a community meeting at the Augusta Multicultural Center in early April to hear about the experiences of people using the internet and the barriers they may face to being digitally connected.

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Take Maine’s Broadband Survey!

The State of Maine, through the Maine Connectivity Authority, is developing a Broadband Action Plan to decide how $250 million in federal funds should be used to expand access to high-speed internet and ensure that we all have what we need to connect to the digital...

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Correct the Dots!

The Maine Connectivity Authority needs your help! January 13th, 2023 is the last day to submit challenges to the FCC maps that will help determine Maine's Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program allocation. Visit MCA's Correct the Dots page below for...

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