In 2016, well before the pandemic, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas found that the gap between those with broadband access and those without – often called the digital divide – “leads to further economic, social and political disparities for low-income and underserved populations.”
Even in urban areas with accessible broadband, many households still don’t subscribe to the service. Brownsville, Harlingen and Beaumont ranked in the top 20 of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance’s 2019 list of worst-connected cities. Texas’ vast rural areas are especially underserved. As of 2016, only 69 percent of rural Texans could access high-speed internet. Many of the barriers to expansion in Texas concern the state’s size, varying population densities and terrain.
This digital divide has serious implications:
According to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), digital literacy is the ability to use the latest information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information.
TSLAC’s Digital Literacy Training Toolkit is a free training course with lesson plans, workbooks, activity worksheets and resources covering computer basics, email, Microsoft applications, resume writing and more. This valuable tool is available to anyone who wants to develop and improve their computer skills.
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