SA Digital Connects is working to close the digital divide in the community

More than 20 percent of our neighbors in San Antonio and Bexar counties face barriers to accessing the Internet.

When SA Digital Connects launches in September 2021, we are committed to being the voice of digital inclusion and providing fast, reliable and affordable internet solutions for all. We are a public-private community partnership working to implement the San Antonio and Bexar County Digital Equity Plan, which outlines our steps to close the digital divide.

On my one-year anniversary as Executive Director of SA Digital Connects, I think back to my last interview for this role. I set up my laptop and iPad and got into a Zoom meeting at 8:55am for a 9am interview. The connection was slow, and I troubled it quickly, but nothing worked, so I did an interview over the phone. As frustrating as this ironic internet glitch is, it’s an everyday reality for many of our neighbors.

What about people who have no choice? What about those who are permanently isolated and unable to participate in today’s society and economy?

Our goal is that by 2025-2026, all residents of the city and county will be connected to the Internet. Our approach to addressing the digital divide focuses on three areas: access/infrastructure, affordability and adoption/digital skills.

This week, National Digital Inclusion Week, is a time to come together to bring awareness and solutions to digital inequalities in our communities. This year’s theme is “Turn Our Moments Into Movements” and that’s exactly what we do for the community.

The digital divide is very real; it is a social determinant of health (with potentially damaging, lasting effects.

Living without internet access means that people in our community cannot apply for jobs, get benefits, use telehealth, do research for college, get job training, get timely emergency information, access city and county resources—the list goes on and on lift.

Using a mobile phone to access services or apply for jobs is neither fair nor sustainable. Affordable, high-quality internet is fundamental to reducing systemic inequalities and driving the next generation of social and economic development.

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