The pandemic highlighted the need for a comprehensive approach to ensure people with disabilities and their families have access to technology to connect to their community. Hamilton County DD Services has created a Digital Divide Solutions Task Force that developed a roadmap to help address technology-related issues. This task force will:
- Assess what people truly need in the way of technology
- Determine means to acquire technology affordably (identify available funding and affordable options)
- Consider training to know how to use this technology (may include training for the family and support staff)
- Plan for reasonable means of necessary and timely updates and repairs
The Digital Divide Solutions Task Force is working toward a common-sense approach to modernizing our perspective around technology and creating a way for people we support to access the technology they need, get necessary support services, and ensure its ongoing operation. We hope to bring the final plan to our Board for approval this fall.
Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently began its Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which aims to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and more. Eligible households can receive a discount on broadband service as well as a one-time discount to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.
Learn more about the program and how to apply on the FCC website.