During high school, Darriale Bradley and her family spent many nights sitting in the parking lot of fast food restaurants in Macon, Georgia, not for the food, but for the Wi-Fi. With no home Internet connection, it was the only way Darriale, now a college junior, could do her online homework.
Sadly, she is far from the only one. In fact, Darriale’s story is common to the 64 million Americans who are not yet connected to the Internet at home, a disproportionate number of them from low-income and minority communities.
At a time when 80 percent of K-12 students need the Internet to do their homework, and many need access for standardized test preparation, college and scholarship searches, career exploration, and college and financial aid applications, it’s nearly impossible to connect to the American Dream unless they are connected to the Internet. This digital divide is real and ongoing, but solvable. At EveryoneOn, we are working every day to make this happen.
EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit organization that aims to eliminate the digital divide in the United States. Since 2012, we have connected more than 300,000 low-income people across 48 states to free and affordable Internet, computers, and digital literacy training. Our goal is to connect at least 1 million people before 2020.
We have a three-pronged approach:
Affordable Internet Service Offers, Devices, and Training: The main barrier to low-income people getting online is cost. We combat this by partnering with Internet service providers to create and refine their low-cost offers. These are usually priced at approximately $10 per month.
Easy Access and Awareness: Many families understand the importance of gaining access to the Internet but they are unaware of the low-cost options that may be available to them. We work to sign them up for affordable Internet service, computers, and digital literacy training.
Partners on the Ground: The last and most critical element in closing this digital divide are our partners on the ground. Our staff and hundreds of partners and supporters across the country are reaching families in everyday places: at schools, grocery stores, church functions, and community events.
While we have made great strides, there is still much to be done. In the country that invented the Internet, it’s unacceptable that only those who can afford access are afforded the Internet’s opportunity. While combating this digital divide seems daunting, we are committed to working to connect all. And, for families like Darriale’s, connection can’t come quickly enough.
To learn how your school can help students and families connect to the Internet, connect with us by visiting http://www.everyoneon.org/.