According to 2021 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 7% of Nebraska households do not have access to a computer and 6% of Nebraska households have access to a computer but no internet. Although recent efforts suggest there is momentum and government action at both the federal and state levels to address lack of broadband (Hammel, 2023; Newman, 2023), this still leaves a considerable number of Nebraskans without access to reliable broadband in the meantime. Furthermore, broadband access is moot if Nebraskans do not have access or cannot afford technology and the cost of internet in the first place. The purpose of this report is to take a deeper look at specific covered populations in Nebraska who are more likely to be without affordable, reliable technology access and, therefore, are disproportionally impacted by the digital divide. The research team, representing the University of Nebraska at Omaha Center for Public Affairs Research and Department of Gerontology, was approached by the Nebraska Information Technology Commission to conduct focus groups with covered populations. Key findings from focus groups are shared. Findings indicate that access to technology and internet is not only vital for all Nebraskans but is also costprohibitive for already marginalized populations. Moving forward, these findings will inform the creation of a state digital equity plan for Nebraska.
Schafer, Josie Gatti; Masters, Julie L.; Vogel, Morgan; Kelly, Chris; Sariscsany, Laurel; Ruelas Avila, Ignacio; and Grell, Tara, "State of Nebraska Digital Equity Plan: Understanding the Digital Equity Needs of Covered Populations in Nebraska" (2023). Publications. 658.