State of Hawaii Begins Work to Develop Digital Equity Plan to Bridge Digital Divide

Posted on Apr 25, 2023 in News

For Immediate Release: April 25, 2023

Hawaii residents are urged to participate in the development of the digital equity plan

HONOLULU—The State of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) recently began the process of developing the state’s first digital equity plan. The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) defines digital equity as the condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed to fully participate in our society, democracy, and economy. The state’s digital equity plan will be developed with the goal of creating these conditions in communities throughout Hawaii. When final, this plan will serve as a roadmap for actions and investments to achieve digital equity for residents over the next five years.

“Our kamaaina and ohana are missing out on critical opportunities – whether that is progressing in their career, connecting with friends, taking care of their health and so much more – due to the digital divide,” said Burt Lum, State Broadband Coordinator of the Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office. “We believe that with this plan, Hawaii will be well-positioned to receive critical federal funding to address these issues and be a leader nationwide in digital equity.”

To identify and address the gaps in our communities, the project team will be conducting research through stakeholder interviews, focus group sessions, data for mapping statewide resources, and engaging with populations specifically dealing with digital inequity. The team will ask community members to share their:

  • Personal experience with the barriers they face with connecting to the internet
  • Feedback on what has worked well to help them connect to the internet
  • Participation in any current digital equity programs and resources (i.e., digital literacy training, free Wi-Fi at the library, etc.)
  • Recommendations on what the State of Hawaii can invest in to make a difference and how the public, private, and nonprofit sectors can address digital equity in our state

“These important conversations and collaborations will inform the planning effort as the team determines the most effective and meaningful use of funding in our state and develops a comprehensive strategic plan to bridge the digital divide,” said Dane Wicker, deputy director of DBEDT. “This is a critical opportunity and an appeal to everyone to weigh in on how we address digital equity.”

For more information on the digital equity plan and how to participate, visit broadband.hawaii.gov/digitalequityplan
or contact [email protected].

About Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office (HBDEO):
HBDEO was established within the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism with a mission to support and coordinate statewide deployment of high-speed internet access (broadband) and to achieve the goals of digital equity and adoption for all residents of Hawaii. HBDEO’s functions include the coordination, implementation, promotion, funding and managing of programs that ensure the equitable distribution of digital technologies and provides pathways to maximize Hawaii’s competitiveness in the digital economy.

About Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT):
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

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Media Contacts:
Laci Goshi
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
(808) 587-9006
dbedt.hawaii.gov

Crystal Yamasaki
Crystal Clear Communications
(808) 389-2890