Monday, 28 September 2015 10:56

Telstra and Swinburne Institute launch Australian Digital Inclusion Index

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A research project aiming to capture the extent of digital inclusion in Australia has been launched in Melbourne today by Telstra and the Swinburne Institute.

The Australian Digital Inclusion Index is, according to its joint creators Telstra and the Swinburne Institute for Social Research and the Centre for Social Impact, ‘a data-driven tool that aims to improve our understanding of digital inclusion and its interaction with social and economic disadvantage in Australia.’

Digital Inclusion is said to be ‘recognised as one of the key social justice challenges facing policy makers and communities worldwide.’

Telstra’s Group MD for Consumer and Products, Karsten Wildberger said: “Today, access to online services, connected via the internet wherever you live, work or travel, has become basic and essential – something everyone needs to survive in our increasingly digital economy and society.”

Despite the transformational aspect of the Internet, we’re told that ‘four million Australians are still not online and are missing out on the education, health, social and financial benefits of being connected.’

This, today’s newly launched research project ‘will create an Index by which to measure progress in improving digital inclusion in Australia,’ and we’re promised ‘critical insights to inform more effective policies, products and programs to ensure that all Australians can get online and enjoy the benefits that connection can bring.’

Telstra’s Wildberger added: “We are very pleased to be partnering with the Swinburne Institute for Social Research and the Centre for Social Impact on this new project.

“For Telstra, this is a logical extension of our work over many years to ensure that no one is left behind in having access to communications services.”

The Index’s development ‘will involve extensive consultation with key community, academic, government and business organisations, and will provide critical insights to inform more effective policies, products and programs to ensure no one gets left behind.’

To read the project’s discussion paper, also launched today, which will ‘help to inform and guide this public consultation’, please visit the Australia Digital Inclusion Index site here

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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