Today, the Alliance Digital Living Together, which includes VodafoneZiggo, Princess Laurentien van Oranje and the Ministry of the Interior, organised the first Digital Inclusion Day. In total, 300 companies and organisations interacted on the day about what is needed to bridge the digital divide.
“The Netherlands is digitising at a rapid pace,” explains Princess Laurentien. “There are genuinely appealing aspects to this, as digitisation often makes processes more efficient and simpler. At the same time, over two million Dutch people don’t have basic digital skills, and almost four per cent of Dutch people still have no internet access at home. That another 17 per cent of people still don’t have access to a digital device because it’s not affordable is still not widely known. Many people don’t realise, or don’t sufficiently realise, that there are people who are in a completely different situation. There’s still a lot of work to do. And it’s only together that we can bridge the digital divide.”
To bridge the digital divide, the Alliance wants everyone to have access to a digital device, as well as the internet. For instance, it is exploring the possibilities of developing a social inclusion package with the telecom sector. This is especially for socially and economically disadvantaged people with insufficient money to pay for an internet subscription.
The Alliance is working on combining the help that is available, so that people ca find it more easily when they need help. VodafoneZiggo is committed to this in various ways. Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of VodafoneZiggo: “Enjoyment and progress with every connection. That's what we stand for at VodafoneZiggo. By that, we mean progress for everyone where we leave nobody behind. Along with partners, various programmes are being developed to get people digitally literate, and we’re constantly looking at how we can make our products and services more accessible.”
The telecoms provider has announced that it will train employees at its 105 shops, to answer customer questions about digital tools even more effectively. VodafoneZiggo will collaborate with local bodies such as the Digital Government Information Point (Informatiepunt Digitale Overheid) in the library and the Digital Helpline (Digihulplijn) and will also refer customers to them where necessary. “We heard again today how much is already happening, but also how much still needs to be done to help people online,” says Jeroen. “To create a national impact, we need each other, and we’re happy to use our shops for that.”
Power of collaboration
VodafoneZiggo, together with the Alliance, today invited all those present to a meeting on 30 January. “To get something done and ensure everyone can keep up digitally, we need to work together,” says Jeroen Hoencamp. “Anyone who was not there today but can contribute is, of course, very welcome. To help each other on a local level, and to share our knowledge to ensure that everyone can keep up digitally.”
Registration by 30 January is possible via: email@example.com
Photography: Patrice Börger