A Year of Big Commitments to Help Close the Digital Divide

AT&T Blog Team
December 17, 2021
Broadband Access and Affordability


A Year of Big Commitments to Help Close the Digital Divide

Over the past couple weeks, AT&T opened several new Connected Learning Centers in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Cleveland. The centers – which stem from our $2 billion, 3-year commitment to help close the digital divide – are dedicated learning spaces with free access to the internet, computers, and educational resources to help students and families participate in online learning, look for jobs, access virtual healthcare and more. We’re well on our way to launching more than 20 of them in U.S. communities most affected by the digital divide.

But our Connected Learning Program isn’t the only way we’ve put that $2 billion, 3-year commitment into action during 2021. Here’s a look at more of the big ways we’re working to help address the digital divide, narrow the homework gap and enhance online literacy and safety.

Providing technology resources

In addition to our Connected Learning Centers, we’re working to ensure more students have access to the technology resources they need to learn. We’re working with non-profits across the nation to get devices, including laptops and hotspots, directly into the hands of students. That includes teaming up with non-profit Digitunity, to provide more than 20,000 refurbished laptops to families of K-12 students affected by the digital divide in 10 cities around the US.

Enhancing Digital Literacy

Access to connectivity and technology is key to helping bridge the digital divide, but equally as important is making sure that students and families understand how to use and get the most out of these resources. That’s why we’re working together with the Public Library Association to launch 12 digital literacy courses in a curated series. These free courses are designed to increase technology adoption and help those who are new to digital technology build skills and confidence to use computers and mobile devices safely and responsibly. Courses will be available online for everyone and offered in-person at our AT&T Connected Learning Centers and public libraries nationwide.

Providing low-cost broadband options

We are also helping families who need it, stay connected for less. This year, we participated in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, a federal government program that provides a temporary benefit on home internet or wireless service for eligible households. We also offer eligible customers a low-cost internet service called Access from AT&T.

Working directly with schools, libraries and government leaders, we’re helping to connect students, teachers, library patrons and underserved populations. Providing affordable solutions, flexible options and a wide range of support services, we can help bridge communities today to deliver a better tomorrow. Together with departments of education, school districts, and higher education institutions, we’ve already connected more than 600,000 students and teachers across 50 states since March 2020.

What’s Next?

Our goal is to provide 1 million K-12 students in the United States with the technology and/or skills needed to succeed by 2025. That means continuing to grow our Connected Learning Program. It means working hard with our non-profit partners to enhance digital literacy. And it means continuing to offer comprehensive solutions at an affordable cost, and participation in the upcoming Affordable Connectivity Program, to help make broadband connectivity more accessible and affordable to low-income Americans.

The digital divide continues to affect millions of people across the country. As our commitments make clear, we’re investing heavily to help bring connectivity to families and communities that need it.

 

Want to learn more? Check out our Digital Divide page to read about the many ways we’re working to expand internet access for Americans in need.