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Assessing the benefits of digital inclusion

14 Jul 2009

Constrained by cost or a lack of knowledge – and often both – a significant number of disadvantaged people are missing out on the basic tools that engender participation in modern life.

This ‘digital divide’ has a significant, negative impact on the communities it affects, by limiting their access to  information, employment and social networks. On the upside, however, bridging this divide has genuine, measurable benefits for individuals and the broader community.

This paper demonstrates the scale of these benefits, and makes a strong case for expanding the process of ‘digital inclusion’ to other disadvantaged areas of Australia.

The Digital Inclusion Initiative (DII) is a whole-of-community effort, spearheaded by the non-profit organisation, Infoxchange, and its eleven corporate partners. The initiative is designed to eradicate the digital divide by providing access to computer hardware, software, affordable internet and user support for residents of public housing.

Two disadvantaged communities in Victoria have already benefited from DII: Atherton Gardens Estate in Fitzroy
and Collingwood Public Housing Estate. Now, using a robust economic model, management consulting firm A.T.
Kearney has been able to identify and measure these benefits.

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