PHOENIX — In observance of Digital Inclusion Week, October 4-8, 2021, the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office is proud to join more than 600 organizations nationally who are working to raise awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices, and local technology training and support programs.
“Pathways to digital empowerment are essential because the internet is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity for all Arizonans,” says Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for high-speed connectivity, devices, and digital literacy skills as Arizonans participate in remote learning, consult with healthcare providers, telework, connect with friends and family, and access essential services.”
According to the United States Census Bureau 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, 15.9% of households in Arizona are without broadband internet subscriptions, and 8.3% of households have no computer at home. These numbers concentrate in low-income areas and on rural tribal lands.
Digital equity means that every Arizonan has access to affordable internet service, devices, and digital skills regardless of socioeconomic status, physical ability, language, race, or gender. The Secretary of State’s Office recognizes Arizona’s public libraries as vital digital inclusion champions by providing free internet in the building, Wi-Fi hotspot and laptop lending programs, public computers, and computer classes.
Other digital inclusion efforts such as Connect Arizona are critical to achieving digital equity in Arizona by providing information about affordable internet service and computers, maintaining a statewide free public Wi-Fi map, and offering a Digital Navigator service. The Connect Arizona Digital Navigators are a team of public library staff from around the state who provide one-on-one phone assistance to help communities thrive online. Digital Navigators serve as a free tech support hotline for digital learning and information on accessing low-cost internet and computer offers.
For more information, visit https://connect-arizona.com/