S.R. NO.
















WHEREAS, "digital equity" is the condition in which all Hawaii residents, keiki to kupuna, have the information technology capacity to participate fully in our society, democracy, and economy, including civics, social and cultural activities, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services; and


WHEREAS, digital equity requires ubiquitous and affordable access to broadband and the internet, digital tools, and the knowledge to thrive in an increasingly digital world; and


WHEREAS, the "digital divide," also known as "digital inequity," has been a pressing community issue for many years now, separating those in rural communities and those from socioeconomically disadvantaged circumstances from the rest of modern society; and


WHEREAS, a lack of adequate broadband infrastructure, internet-capable devices, affordable high-quality broadband service, and technological know-how creates inequitable digital access; and


WHEREAS, digital infrastructure investments have faced challenges with misinformation within our communities about the effects of those technologies; and


WHEREAS, digital inequity is rapidly emerging through racial, economic, and geographical boundaries and is amplified among Hawaii's most vulnerable and underserved populations; and


WHEREAS, stay-at-home and work-from-home orders related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus have made digital connectivity a necessity across all economic sectors and demographics; and


WHEREAS, the need for social distancing related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus has forced many social functions to occur online; and


WHEREAS, those without digital connectivity may become socially isolated, lonely, and suffer from mental health issues; and


WHEREAS, Hawaii's high unemployment rate during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to families cutting home internet subscriptions in order to prioritize food and rent expenses; and


WHEREAS, the lack of internet access disproportionately affects native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander communities, with the percentage of those households without internet access being almost double that of the state population as whole; and


WHEREAS, in 1824 King Kamehameha III, Kauikeaouli, proclaimed "He aupuni palapala kou (mine is a kingdom of literacy)." The King's appreciation for the written language and education resulted in extremely high literacy rates among native Hawaiians. Today, Hawaii finds itself in a similar situation where society must adopt a new form of digital literacy to succeed in a digital age; and


WHEREAS, a pivot towards this new form of digital literacy will empower Hawaii's residents to realize their full potential; and


WHEREAS, the Broadband Hui is a multi-sector conglomerate of public and private organizations and individuals whose months of thoughtful conversations led to the compilation of well-articulated visions and goals known as the Digital Equity Declaration for Hawaii; and


WHEREAS, the Digital Equity Declaration is published on the Broadband Hui's website:; now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, that this body supports and adopts the goals set forth in the Digital Equity Declaration that was adopted by the Broadband Hui; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the goals of the Digital Equity Declaration support the Aloha+ Challenge, Hawaii's statewide sustainability framework, and will be reflected in the Aloha+ Dashboard and updated regularly to track progress; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to Hawaii's congressional delegation; Governor of the State of Hawaii; Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu; Mayor of Maui County; Mayor of Hawaii County; Mayor of Kauai County; Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; Superintendent of the Department of Education; Chairpersons of each county council; President of the University of Hawaii; Chief Executive Officer of Kamehameha Schools; Executive Director of Hawaii Green Growth; and Chairperson of the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii.









Report Title:

Digital Equity Declaration