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In March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii, and Transform Hawaii Government convened twenty participants to find immediate solutions to providing equitable access to broadband internet and improving digital literacy for all in Hawai‘i.

Today, joined by more than 200 individuals representing wireline and wireless carriers; federal, state and county legislative and administrative leaders; local, national, and international non-profits; public and private schools and universities; and private businesses, this ongoing convening has become known as the Broadband Hui.

Through the diverse input gathered in this collective forum, it has become overwhelmingly apparent that many in Hawai‘i, primarily from rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, lack the necessary digital tools to work, learn, receive essential services, and participate in civic and social activities.  If this is left to continue, the impacts of digital inequity may become an increasingly significant contributor to a widening socioeconomic gap.

In November 2020, DBEDT published the new 2020 Hawaiʻi Broadband Strategic Plan, which articulates the State’s approach to address many of the broadband and digital inequity issues facing Hawaiʻi.

Parallel to this effort, a collective understanding of what digital equity means was identified as a priority in the Broadband Hui.  This Digital Equity Declaration, compiles the collective priorities articulated through months of thoughtful Broadband Hui conversations and, in alignment with the 2020 Hawai‘i Broadband Strategic Plan, sets a foundation for collective action among private- and public-sector partners by providing a vision and goals that will move Hawaiʻi toward a more equitable digital future.  This Declaration is a call to address this critical need by advancing the following three pillars of digital equity: 

  1. Access: Affordable, quality broadband for all;
  2. Literacy: A baseline of digital competence for all; and
  3. Livelihood: Societal systems effectively leveraging digital opportunities to improve lives.

In reference to these pillars, we refer to this declaration as Broadband for A.L.L.

Learn more about the Broadband Hui, the Digital Equity Declaration, and add your name as a supporter at the links below.

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