5 Organizations Helping People Access & Use The Internet

In our globally connected world, the internet is either helpful or crucial for a number of important tasks, including applying for jobs, getting an education, scheduling health services, and more. Despite this, many people in rural areas or lower-income neighborhoods throughout the United States and around the world lack reliable broadband access. This list, presented in no particular order, shares several groups working to bridge the digital divide and ensure that everyone can get connected.

Kicking off our list at #1 is the Center for Innovative Technology. This organization helps entrepreneurs launch high-growth tech companies through seed funding, grants, and more. To facilitate national innovation leadership and accelerate the rate of technology adoption, CIT creates partnerships between start-ups and consumers.

The nonprofit ​'s Virginia Founders Fund is focused on providing venture capital for the Commonwealth's traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs, such as women, minorities, veterans, or those living in regions outside of Northern Virginia. These business people work in various sectors such as software, hardware, life science, and technology-enabled services.

For #2, we have NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association. This group represents hundreds of independent, family-owned, community-based telecommunications companies; these members build and deliver broadband connectivity in rural and small-town communities across the U.S.

With the goal of closing the digital divide, NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas. It also provides educational programming, training, and development by publishing industry research, conducting in-person and virtual events, and offering an array of employee benefit programs.

Coming in at #3 is the Digital Empowerment Foundation. Based in New Delhi, India, its mission is to empower marginalized communities in connection-poor regions to access, consume, and produce information online using digital interventions and ICT tools.

DEF’s work covers several programs. One, Markets and Social Enterprise, believes in empowering grassroots-level civil society organizations with an online presence and internet literacy in order to protect people’s culture, heritage, environment, and natural resources digitally.

The #4 entry is Connected Nation, based in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Its mission is to improve lives by providing solutions that will expand the access, adoption, and use of high-speed internet by all people, regardless of income, location, or any other factor.

CN has several initiatives to support digital inclusion. Computers 4 Kids is designed to leverage technology to benefit vulnerable children; the organization provides computers to neighborhoods that need them. With the help of other nonprofits, they offer educational programs on the devices.

Rounding out our list at #5 is the Internet Innovation Alliance, a Washington, DC-based coalition of business and nonprofit organizations that aims to ensure every American, regardless of race, income, or geography, has access to broadband internet.

The group seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption. Some of its campaigns include a push for more telemedicine services, an open internet, and more robust privacy laws for consumers.