Definitions & framework

This research did not include a review of relevant literature, but it did draw on one recent report, the Pulse of the Nation report by the Digital Inclusion Research Group released in December 2017, for two things:

  1. an overview of the groups who are digitally disadvantaged in New Zealand

  2. a working definition of digital inclusion.


The Pulse of the Nation report found that there is widespread agreement about the groups who are digitally disadvantaged including families on low incomes, Māori and Pasifika youth, offenders and ex-offenders, migrants and refugees, people with disabilities, seniors and people living outside urban areas. This information was used to identify the target groups for this research.

The Pulse of the Nation report also proposed a definition of digital inclusion:

“A digitally included person is someone who has access to affordable and accessible digital devices and services at a time and place convenient to them, as well as the motivation, skills, and trust to use the Internet to pursue and realise meaningful social and economic outcomes.”

In this context, “digital services” can mean any connectivity services, however delivered. In our research we found that people used the terms broadband, Internet and wifi interchangeably and were largely agnostic as to whether digital services would be delivered by the fixed and/or wireless networks. ‘Digital devices’ includes handsets (phones), tablets and computers.

This definition provides a four-part framework for discussing the challenges faced by specific groups in relation to digital inclusion, which we used to develop the design of this research:

  1. Motivation

  2. Access (including affordability, accessibility and convenience)

  3. Skills

  4. Trust