Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Digital Equity Coalition Aotearoa Calls For Government Action To Bridge Digital Divide

The Digital Equity Coalition Aotearoa (DECA) is urging the New Zealand Government to establish a Digital Equity payment to ensure internet access for low-income families. Revealed in DECA's Affordable Connectivity in Aotearoa report today, 58,000 families in Aotearoa currently are without internet connectivity. This initiative would directly address their critical needs.

Victoria MacLennan, Co-Chair of DECA, explains the impetus behind the research:

“We commissioned this report because of two key concerns. Firstly, the Equitable Digital Access subsidy established by the Ministry of Education during COVID lockdowns is coming to an end, with the internet connections of 10,000 households being switched off in June this year. Secondly, we recognised the lack of New Zealand-specific research on internet affordability for low-income families. Understanding what these families can realistically afford is crucial to developing effective solutions. This comprehensive report provides the data and insights necessary to bridge the digital divide and ensure equitable access for all.”

Research Highlights Affordability and Needs of Maori Communities

DECA's research, conducted in collaboration with low-income communities, identified $7 per week as a manageable cost for internet access. This aligns with UNESCO's Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development's recommendation that internet affordability should not exceed 2% of household income.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The research also highlights the crucial role of internet access in empowering Maori communities. DECA partnered with Arataki Systems, led by Lee Timutimu, to understand the specific needs. Their findings emphasise the importance of not just connectivity, but also access to appropriate devices, digital literacy training, and uncapped data plans for full and meaningful online engagement.

By leveraging this data and the Household Economic Survey (HES), DECA and Figure.NZ determined that all 380,000 households in the lowest income bracket struggle to afford basic internet packages under the 2% affordability threshold.

Internet access as a Basic Necessity in life

In today's world, internet connectivity is no longer a luxury, but a basic necessity. It is essential for education, employment opportunities, healthcare access, and participation in civic life. DECA's report, released today, will provide a comprehensive analysis of the digital divide and propose solutions to ensure all New Zealanders have the opportunity to thrive in the digital age.

Julian Kersey, Chief Corporate & Regulatory Officer at Chorus says, “As a proud supporter of DECA, Chorus welcomes the report. Our vision is for every Kiwi to have access to the internet. This report is an important contribution to the debate on how New Zealand can ensure everyone has an opportunity to access the internet.

“We're committed to helping bridge the digital divide as New Zealand’s largest telecommunications infrastructure provider, and look forward to working with community, Government and industry partners to address this issue.”

The Report can be found at:

Link directly to the long form report.

Link directly to the summary report.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.