Digital Equity and the Disability Ecosystem: Finding Local, Regional, and National Connections
Please note: references to organizations are for informational purposes only. Such reference should not be interpreted as official endorsement of those entities, their ideas, products, or services by the U.S. Department of Labor.
People with disabilities are part of diverse communities that benefit from equitable access to broadband internet. As State Digital Equity Plans help more people get connected, it is vital to center disabled people in the process. These Plans should include the needs and perspectives of people with disabilities to ensure that new broadband investments help close the digital divide.
The resources listed below can help State Digital Equity Plan creators and implementors engage with organizations that empower people with disabilities to live, work, and participate in their communities.
Disability and Digital Equity Planning
The Digital Equity Act of 2021 provides states, counties, Tribes, and communities across the United States with funding to help close the digital divide. This funding supports the creation and implementation of State Digital Equity Plans and digital inclusion projects.
The Act names people with disabilities as a covered population, along with groups such as veterans, people who are 60 years of age or older, and rural residents. Often, people in covered populations overlap so that many communities include members who are multiply marginalized. This, alongside the fact that people with disabilities have historically experienced lower rates of internet and computer access, makes it even more critical to include them in digital equity planning.
Resources for Inclusive Digital Equity Planning
During the Broadband Equity Think Tank, hosted by PEAT and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), participants shared resources and links to organizations fostering disability inclusion. Below are select resources and additional disability-focused organizations that can assist state and local digital equity leaders.