While New Zealand is considered one of the most digitally advanced nations in the world, a significant minority of New Zealanders are being left behind and not benefitting from being online. We are calling for New Zealand to work together to reduce the effects of digital divides in New Zealand.
The Internet has the potential to transform people's lives, and we need to harness this potential for the benefit of everybody.
We believe that the Internet's power to connect people to each other, deliver goods and services, provide access to information, and enable people to be creators is transformative, and can be scaled up to uplift New Zealand. All New Zealanders should be able to participate fully online.
An important part of working towards digital inclusion is having a shared understanding of digital divides. In our paper, we explore how a digitally included person is someone who has appropriate access, capability, motivation and trust to engage online.
There are many obstacles, that often compound one another, that can keep New Zealanders on the wrong side of these digital divides. Where New Zealanders are experiencing digital divides, and are excluded from meaningful use of the Internet, we are often failing our most vulnerable.
We believe that now is the time to take ambitious, effective action to close digital divides, by collaborating, including with government and the Internet community, to find and intervene in digital divides across New Zealand. We are laying the groundwork for more digital inclusion interventions from all over the country in 2018. We want to guide, inform and support this work.
We have released this position paper to call for a target for New Zealand of universal access.
Working towards a target of universal access for New Zealand means understanding and addressing the digital divides in New Zealand. To do this, we need collaboration across New Zealand, to understand and remove the systemic obstacles that are keeping people from progressing on their journey towards digital inclusion.
We think that closing digital divides is the best investment New Zealand can make. We are asking New Zealanders to join us in this cause and calling for coordinated action to:
- collect and curate data on digital divides. We think New Zealand should be tracking digital divide indicators closely, so we can understand what is happening and see where meaningful change is occuring.
- locate digitally divided people. We want to see action to reach out to communities, and find people who are excluded, and we plan to use InternetNZ's digital divide map to help do this. This map is available at digitaldivide.nz
- pilot initiatives at the community level and scale up successes. In our paper, we have suggested a series of community, business, and government initiatives that could be trialled.
As a country, we can close digital divides and bring more people online in a meaningful way, and InternetNZ will be continuing this work in 2018.
Read our paper here: Solving Digital Divides Together