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Digital Opportunity

Digital Opportunity

All individuals and communities need to have the opportunity and information technology capacity to fully participate in our society, democracy, and economy. Providing digital opportunity to everyone is necessary for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services.

To achieve this goal, everyone needs access to:

  • affordable, robust broadband internet service
  • appropriate devices that meet the needs of the user
  • digital skills training opportunities
  • quality technical support
  • applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation, and collaboration.

(Modified definition from NDIA.)

The Digital Divide

The digital divide is the gap between those who have affordable access, skills, and support to effectively engage online and those who do not. As technology constantly evolves, the digital divide prevents equal participation and opportunity in all parts of life (NDIA). 

What does the digital divide look like in Louisiana?

  • 12% of Louisianans live in households that lack fixed broadband availability (U.S. Census)

  • 16% lack a computer or broadband subscription (U.S. Census)

  • 17% are not using the internet (U.S. Census)

  • 38% are not using a PC or tablet computer (U.S. Census)

The digital divide hinders equal participation and opportunity in all aspects of life. This particularly affects "older, less educated, and less affluent populations, as well as rural parts of the country" (U.S. Department of Education, 2018).

In Louisiana, the digital divide disproportionately* affects: 

  • Residents from rural areas (46% of Louisianans)

  • Individuals who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group (42%)

  • Low-income households (28.5% of residents live in households with income not more than 150% of the poverty level)

  • Older adults (23% aged 60 or over)

  • Individuals with a language barrier (21.2%)

    • English learners (3%)

    • Individuals who have low levels of literacy (27%)

  • People with disabilities (16%)

  • Veterans (5%)

  • Incarcerated individuals (1.2%)

*Source: U.S. Census Bureau and National Telecommunications and Information Administration, DEA Population Viewer

Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. (American Library Association)

Affordable Internet & Devices

To ensure all Louisiana residents can meaningfully benefit from broadband, all residents need access to a high-speed internet connection and that access needs to be affordable. ConnectLA, the Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity, is the broadband resource in Louisiana and strives to alleviate the digital divide in Louisiana. 

Interested in learning more about the digital divide in your area? Click on the image below to use the interactive map from ConnectLA.

Louisiana parishes map