Digital Equity Initiative
Today, 80% of students need the Internet to complete their homework and 90% of job applications are online. Yet in Rhode Island, 263,432 people, or 26% of households, are not connected to the Internet (2015 American Community Survey). Closing this digital divide is critical to empowering Rhode Islanders to take advantage of new opportunities and to compete in the new skills economy. How we meet these challenges will determine our future. We need to keep our momentum going with bold solutions like ConnectRI.
ConnectRI is an initiative spearheaded by the Rhode Island Office of Innovation in partnership with EveryoneOn (a national nonprofit) and Rhode Island Housing aimed at eliminating the digital divide and connecting all Rhode Islanders to high speed broadband in their home. Through the initiative, we will offer our neediest residents high-speed, low-cost Internet service, computers, and free digital literacy courses accessible in their home.
Internet Access through Affordable Housing: The first step in our broader Digital Equity Initiative is to partner with Rhode Island’s public and private low-cost housing communities to bring low cost internet to their residents. EveryoneOn and the Office of Innovation will work with Rhode Island’s low-cost housing organizations to train their intake, renewal, and benefits staff members to identify disconnected residents and connect them to the RhodeIslandOn.org website where they will be able to access subsidized internet service, affordable devices, and free digital literacy training.