All Online by 2017

By engaging and up-skilling all communities in the Hume region, the Hume Digital Strategy aims to have all residents online by 2017. The challenge requires the coordination of organisations, resources and technologies in order to encompass all groups in the community.

Local governments are a key driver behind the move toward greater digital literacy, and can help by providing both physical and intellectual resources to facilitate community learning. One local government currently leading the way is the Adelaide City Council. The Grote Street Library is home to the Adelaide Digital Hub. The hub “aims to connect the community and city businesses with technology and the online world and get ready for the National Broadband Network (NBN)”.

The Digital Hub includes a community training program, a Digital Enterprise Program for business, an Innovation Lab and the iPad Buddy Program.

The Digital Enterprise Program is comprised of an interactive workshop series designed to lead businesses through the practical information they need to know about the NBN, an introduction to tools that can improve efficiency and demonstration of online marketing tools, including social media. The program, funded by the federal government, will help provide a strong foundation for businesses to establish their digital presence.

Some groups are at higher risk of digital exclusion than others. Statistics show that older members of the Australian community are less likely to utilise internet access, and a 2010 report identified that lack of interest and skill were main drivers behind low levels of involvement, as well as the cost of holding an internet connection.

The iPad Buddy System helps engage older residents with digital technologies by providing each participant with an iPad, a volunteer buddy, a support network and regular social catch-ups, allowing participants to meet other residents share their experience. The iPads come pre-loaded with books, games and apps, and best of all, it’s free!

Many communities around the world are doing work to close the digital gap. The video below from Governance International shows how local programs in Camden in the UK are helping older citizens become digitally active.

What do you think? How can we get ALL online by 2017? We’d love to hear your ideas.