The Digital Divide

Vulnerable and financially disadvantaged people across Australia need immediate access to data and devices including iPads, computers, and mobile phones. COVID-19 has increased the digital divide, the gap between people who benefit from the digital age, and people who don’t. Everyday Australians need access to the internet for information, communication, medical needs and staying connected for positive mental health and Good360 is working on a solution to this unmet need. 

Digital technology is central to almost every activity and it is practically impossible to successfully engage in work or study, access essential services such as healthcare, or connect with family and friends without digital access. COVID has increased the pace of digitisation and therefore increased the digital divide in the process.

At Good360 we support over 3,000 charities and disadvantaged schools across Australia, and have deep connections with community and council networks as well as peak bodies. The feedback we received highlighted that whilst food relief was plentiful, and Good360 was supplying non-food material aid, the greatest gap was the digital divide and access to devices and data.

When Good360 surveyed our members 100% needed access to digital devices.

The Good Things Foundation confirms the need in the Digital Nation Australia 2021 report, identifying the most at risk groups for Digital Exclusion include

  • First Nations People
  • Rural and remote Australians
  • Low income Households/ people with mobile only data connections
  • Women
  • New CALD migrants and refugees
  • People with disabilities
  • People over 65
  • People outside of the labour force
  • People with low levels of education
A woman explaining something to a man, while the sit in front of two computer screens.

At Good360 our goal is to provide 20,000 devices to Australians most in need, at no cost.

Good360 will make this possible through the Good360 Digital Divide Project – matching devices including laptops, tablets and phones (with data) to vulnerable and financially disadvantaged Australians affected by the economic and social impacts and addressing the digital divide.

Our project will match, coordinate and procure, purchase and distribute data and devices (laptops, tablets and mobiles) to our member disadvantaged schools and charities across Australia.

There are two types of reasons these devices are available for donation:

  1. New & Near New – Donations of devices and returns from customers via our business partners
  2. Refurbished – from businesses who donate employee computers when upgrading

Good360 is Australia’s largest online marketplace matching surplus with need, we are best placed to create a national solution to an emerging problem. We will access these donations and work with a computer partner to ensure they are fit for purpose, test & tag and provide a warranty for refurbished devices.

Currently, there is no program at scale to match these devices. We can match and divert many from e-waste/landfill, extending the usable life of devices and matching them to people who cannot afford to purchase new and therefore continue to be further disadvantaged and excluded.

Good360’s team is already speaking with donors and supplier partnerships across corporate and business sectors, with both retailers and manufacturers, to address this overwhelming and increasing need. The need gap will only increase whilst the most vulnerable of Australians are digitally excluded.

Two young girls working together on a laptop.

Digital access and therefore education, information and access to healthcare and mental health support is the difference between surviving and thriving, and together we have an opportunity to make an incredible difference.

Read more about the partnership between Good360 and Optus and how together we are addressing both the digital divide and e-waste in Australia.

If you’re an Optus customer you can help! Learn more about how you can donate your data, or donate your device today

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