By Angela A. Aponte
Special to News is my Business
The Puerto Rico Broadband Taskforce announced Tuesday the local launch of “EveryoneOn,” a national public service campaign aimed at promoting digital literacy skills and the importance of being connected online as a means of social, educational and economical development.
In collaboration with the Ad Council, three TV spots have been distributed in English and Spanish, containing the “EveryoneOn” campaign’s toll-free telephone number and online site, through which the general public can obtain information on locations for free digital literacy training classes located near their area.
“‘EveryoneOn’ will raise national awareness about the importance of digital literacy and help reach the more than 60 million Americans who aren’t meaningfully engaged online,” said Peggy Conlon, president of the Ad Council.
Although the “EveryoneOn” ads have been running for several months throughout most areas in the United States, it wasn’t until the Broadband Taskforce provided the local support needed that local broadcasts became a reality, campaign officials said.
Broadband Taskforce President Eduardo Díaz expressed his satisfaction with the support the nonprofit has received from the private sector and the local media, whom have donated air time to the campaign and will air the TV spots, adding in doing so, “they recognize the importance of broadband in driving investment, improving education and creating jobs.”
The Broadband Taskforce is an entity whose mission is to assert the scope of the island’s digital divide, to identify strategies to close it, and to steer public and private stakeholders to action. In 2012, the non-governmental organization released the Puerto Rico State Broadband Plan, which identified strategies to close the digital divide, including the need to increase citizen awareness on the benefits of broadband and to provide opportunities to increase digital literacy.
The document recognized that “Broadband is a key driver of economic growth, competitiveness, sustainability and improvements in quality of life. Yet, Puerto Rico’s broadband adoption lags well behind the United States. This lag is hindering the island’s ability to compete effectively in a global, 21st century economy.”
Nevertheless, according to a survey done that same year by Connect Puerto Rico, 65 percent of residents do not subscribe to broadband services in their home. Of those non-subscribers, 23 percent reported that there was no content worth viewing online, 6 percent said it was too complicated, and 4 percent were uncomfortable using a computer.
As a step toward resolving this problem and lowering the figures, the company has worked with government, community leaders and nonprofits to identify existing digital literacy training centers in Puerto Rico, most of which are now listed in the EveryoneOn database that will be continually updated to include all the centers on the island.
ASPIRA and the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board’s Internet Centers are among the locations that offer free digital literacy training to the Puerto Rican community. Additional training class information is available through everyoneon.org and www.todosconectadosahora.org.