Digital Inclusion Index measures access in Australia

Friday, 9 October 2015 11:06am

A new Melbourne-based research project has launched with the aim of discovering the reach of digital inclusion in Australia.

Computer cable extending out from Australia on a world globe

In a collaborative effort between Telstra, the Swinburne Institute for Social Research and the Centre for Social Impact, the Australian Digital Inclusion Index aims to improve understanding of digital channel inclusion and interaction for people with social and economic disadvantage in Australia.

In a discussion paper highlighting key themes and approaches to forming the basis of the Index, a statement reads:

“Digital inclusion is not just about computers, the internet or even technology. It is about using online and mobile technologies as channels to improve skills, to enhance quality of life, to drive education and to promote economic wellbeing across all elements of society.”

The discussion paper also notes that 1 in 5 Australians (equating to approximately 4 million people) are not able to take advantage of the health, educational and social benefits of being connected. Out of these 4 million people, there are ‘1 million people with a reported disability’ who do not have internet access at home.

In response to the complexity of measuring digital inclusion across Australia, the Index has been separated into 4 inter-related themes:

  • Access
  • Affordability
  • Key online activities
  • Digital literacy

The themes of access and affordability closely align with the Affordable Access project, which aims to provide practical information on devices for consumers around affordable, accessible, internet-enabled mainstream mobiles and tablets. The project is led by Media Access Australia’s Dr Scott Hollier and utilises funding from The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

Development of the Index will utilise extensive interaction with key community members, academics, businesses and government in order to inform more effective policies, products and programs to ensure that all Australians can receive digital access.

Further information on the project can be found via the Digital Inclusion Index website.

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