But for many Australians, issues of access, affordability, and skills are preventing them having the same experience of the web many of us do. This means they’re also missing out on the web benefits we enjoy like saving time, saving money, making better decisions, and accessing critical services.
Organisations working to address this gap describe this issue as one of ‘digital inclusion’, and it has become such an important issue in Australia that 2016 has been dubbed the National Year of Digital Inclusion in an effort to put the topic on the national agenda.
Many wonderful organisations around Australia are working to tackle digital inclusion issues, and one of the most impressive is Melbourne-based Infoxchange, who are dedicated to ‘technology for social justice’. With Australia Post they’ve been running a program called Go Digi that aims to dramatically increase the digital skills of vulnerable groups right across Australia.
But when we started speaking with Infoxchange last year, they said there was a particular issue facing Australians living in social and public housing, and they asked if we’d be interested in helping develop a skills program especially for these people.
Today we’re announcing Digi House, a program to help people in social and public housing to ‘get comfy’ with technology.
Infoxchange will develop a range of practical, helpful, digital skills programs to bring technology into people’s lives in relevant and confidence-building ways, and the program will be delivered by community partners working in these communities. Google.org funded the program with $500,000, and we hope that by the end of the year it will have reached 20,000 Australians.
This is just the first step in helping all Aussies make the most of the web. It’s estimated that four million of us are yet to get connected, so we have a long way to go - but in working with great partners like Infoxchange we can make a difference, digi house by digi house.