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Guam announces digital equity plan as govts globally progress digital inclusion

Guam announces digital equity plan as govts globally progress digital inclusion

Around the world, governments continue to take strides in establishing frameworks for digital inclusion. Guam has released a digital equity plan, while in the UK, the CEO of Government Digital Services spoke on his plans to progress the One Login program.

Indonesia hopes to expedite its integration of national digital services and development of a national digital portal.

Guam unveils digital equity plan

Guam’s digital equity plan is designed to serve those in who are low income households, racial minorities, those with disabilities, and other marginalized groups in accessing affordable internet and devices as well as resources to improve digital literacy and online safety. With improved digital accessibility and literacy, those who are underserved can better access to educational, health, and civic opportunities.

The plan sets out to increase broadband coverage 98 percent by 2029. In 2020, only 85.9 percent of households had a broadband internet subscription. Broadband plans cost an average of $112.17. The plan sets a short-term goal of bringing this cost down to $75 and a long-term goal of $30 a month. As many as 20.2 percent of the population in Guam is below the federal poverty level.

It also aims to implement more free Wi-Fi hotspots at community anchor institutions, with a goal of 5 hotspots by the end of 2024 and all hotspots by the end of 2029. By using public-private partnerships, the plan seeks to eventually implement free island-wide Wi-Fi.

Other goals by 2029 include adding additional workstations to the public libraries and expanding cybersecurity resources and education.

The digital equity plan seeks to transform access for key populations, offering targeted services to overcome unique barriers. Digital equity can improve accessibility for those with disabilities by improving access to online services, affordable assistive technology, and specialized devices.

The aging population may also need additional, personalized cybersecurity training to protect themselves. Veterans with post-service barriers such as disability or PTSD could access mental health services and other healthcare virtually.

Those incarcerated in Guam could have opportunities with virtual health, education, and employee re-entry programs. A key activity is for Guam’s government to work with the Department of Corrections and Department of Youth Affairs for reintegration programs.

Digital inclusion could mean ethnic minorities have better access to services in their preferred language and customized content localized to their community.

By maximizing the Affordable Connectivity Program through improved outreach and application processes, more key groups can access the technological resources to improve inclusion. By 2029, Guam seeks to have all eligible residents in the program. Another goal would be to establish a process for establishing and disseminating refurbished computers.

GDS CEO building trust in government in public services

Tom Read, CEO of the Government Digital Service, talks about transforming public services through the One Login program and a new Gov.UK app in an interview with UKAuthority.

He mentions potentially creating a system that would facilitate identity proofing without a photo ID. Through knowledge based verification and social vouching, those who struggle to obtain identity documents can have an alternate route for identity proofing.

He also speaks on the successes of Gov.UK Pay, which allows public sector organizations to process payments online. “We’ve increased the number of services on Pay by 20% during 2023, which is pretty extraordinary. We’ve got 970 services, about a third in central government and the rest in local government and the NHS,” says Read. Adding the open banking pay-by-bank protocol may soon follow.

The GDS will soon go into the beta phase of a project that will enable HM Revenue and Customs to start using One Login, adding to the 30 services currently using one login. The GDS also plans to migrate away from the Government Gateway later this year.

According to current plans, by the end of 2024-25, 145 services will be onboarded, with another 160 to soon come next.

Another development in progress in the One Login program is the Government Data Exchange, a set of tools and infrastructure that allows users to consent to data sharing to make it faster to renew licenses and apply for government services by pre-filling fields.

Read says the system will leverage APIs in systems across government organizations. He also mentions the idea of creating a government digital wallet that allows users to store their credentials.

Indonesia, Moldova look to expedite digital services integration

Indonesia’s national portal for digital government services is progressing as it plans to expedite the integration of services into its platform, INA Digital according to Antara News.

The National Portal is among nine priority services that GovTech Indonesia is currently developing. It will allow citizens to use single sign-on to access services. Minister of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform Abdullah Azwar Anas said the country needs a policy on how digital identity would be implemented, which is another priority service.

Other services include health, education, social assistance, One Data Indonesia, financial transactions, and police-assisted services like digital driver’s licenses. INA Digital will leverage APIs to integrate the priority services.

Indonesia recently moved from 107 to 77 in the international electronic government index, says Anas.

Moldova is also making progress in digital transformation. Digital signing company Cybernetica will support the government’s digital identity initiative within its broader Digital Transformation Strategy.

During the four month long project, Cybernetica will ensure the digital ID system meets eIDAS2. This is especially valuable as 1 million of the 3.5 million Moldovan nationals live outside of the country.

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