Digital inclusion improving

Divide continues to widen.

Australians also spending more time online than ever before, however, the gap between included and excluded Australians is substantial and continues to widen for some groups, particularly those with low levels of income and employment.

This is according to the latest Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) that measures digital inclusion by analysing three factors; access, affordability and digital ability.

The Index was developed and produced by researchers at RMIT University’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre and the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology, in partnership with Telstra and Roy Morgan.

It found there has been a handful of changes to the relative rankings of states and territories over the past year. The most notable state was Tasmania recording an eight point jump with evidence emerging that the NBN is starting to improve access across the state, where the rollout is largely complete. All states registered an overall increase in their digital inclusion scores this year except for the Northern Territory (NT) which remains flat.

Telstra general manager of digital inclusion, Michael Parks said the ADII continues to provide valuable insights for Telstra’s partners across the community, government, education and corporate sectors that are focused on addressing digital inclusion and bridging noticeable gaps.

“Australia is going digital with education, government services, banking and the way we interact with businesses increasingly moving online.  As the digital world continues to transform the way we live our lives, the benefits of being online are becoming more paramount and the cost of not being online is becoming significant,” he said.

Some of the key findings of the 2018 ADII include:

  • Australians are accessing the internet more often across a diverse range of technologies and are using larger data plans than ever before
  • Digital ability (which takes into account attitudes, basic skills and activities) has improved, but remains an important area for attention with policy makers, businesses, educators and community groups interested in improving digital inclusion
  • Although value for money spent on internet services has improved with more data per dollar, the share of total household budgets spent on these services has grown
  • More than four million Australians access the internet solely through a mobile connection, often linked with socio economic factors including low income, unemployment and low levels of education

The ADII is based on data from more than 16,000 Australians captured in the annual cycle of the Roy Morgan Single Source survey.

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