Dear Editor: With the recent heavy rains and flood watches, I found yet another reason to be thankful for home internet access. I was able to access up-to-the-minute information from my city government to learn about road closures and safe routes to get to work. I find myself thankful for home internet access every day, something I think many people take for granted.
Through my work at DANEnet, I know that 30,000 families in Dane County don’t have home internet access. For disconnected families, that means they go to fast food restaurant parking lots with free wi-fi to complete job applications; it means their children often can’t do their homework at home; and it means they don’t have the same access to government information and services, learning and economic opportunity.
Of course, home internet access alone will not close the digital divide. People need working devices, digital literacy training and ongoing support to maintain their technology and learning. Along with connectivity, this is where DANEnet’s project, "Everyone On Madison," has focused our work. DANEnet is a local nonprofit with 20 years of experience making information technology accessible and affordable to both nonprofit organization and people.
Over the past three years, DANEnet has helped 1,200 households enroll in low-cost home internet, taught 700 people basic computer skills and distributed 600 computers to low-income families. But one nonprofit agency cannot lead this work alone. Government, private businesses, nonprofits and internet service providers must work together and address digital equity head on. During the week of Oct. 7-11 DANEnet will join hundreds of other organizations around the country to celebrate National Digital Inclusion Week with a series of events focused on increasing digital inclusion. More information at www.danenet.org/diw or by calling (608) 274-3107. Please join us.
Executive director, DANEnet
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