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Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Partnership for Cross Generational Digital Inclusion

Last year BT decided to allocate some of its community investment to in-country partnerships outside of the UK. Not being one to miss an opportunity, I applied for a share of the funding and today we announced a two-year partnership with One Economy (OE) in the USA involving a grant, volunteering and collaboration.

In this video, Ken Eisner, Managing Director OE Ventures, talks about One Economy and about our partnership from his perspective.

Digital inclusion is a key CR focus area for BT. Access to the digital world is a critical component for social and economic wellbeing in the community. There are many digital divides; geographic, ethnic and wealth based are the most well known. The generational divide is less well known, but access to the internet for older people falls way behind access for the population as a whole. This creates additional hurdles for older generations to access social communications, news, government services, healthcare, financial services and many other necessary components of a modern day life. The FCC’s recently published National Broadband Plan includes reference to the generational divide.

Across the Atlantic in the UK, BT has been working on the generational divide through BT Internet Rangers. It provides young people with an internet based platform and a framework to help them teach their older family members how to use the internet. Our grant to One Economy (OE) is for them to build a US version of the Internet Rangers program, leveraging BT’s lessons from the UK and One Economy’s extensive experience in digital inclusion in the USA. I am sure there will be much learning in both directions.

We will need a new name though so people don’t think we are competing with the Ranger that rides with Tonto or with the National Park Service.

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