Connected Students project Telstra’s Connected Students project measured the impacts of removing affordability barriers to digital inclusion for low-income households in the Shepparton region. Telstra's Connected Students program Telstra’s Connected Students program measured the impacts of removing affordability barriers to digital inclusion for low-income households in the Shepparton region.The Connected Students program provided technology kits to low-income households with at least one youth between 15 and 18 years of age in secondary education. The technology kits consisted of a laptop, a router, and an activated SIM card providing unlimited broadband for the project’s two-year duration. Project goals The project evaluation, led by Dr Jenny Kennedy, aimed to: Evidence the value of connectivity and individual device access for students and education; andEvidence the impact of unaffordable connectivity (i.e., access that creates and/or requires financial strain) on digital inclusion. Project Outcomes The Connected Students program highlighted several elements that impact on digital inclusion. The cost of mobile connectivity is a major factor, but access to a suitable device can also present a barrier to participating in the digital world. Digital skills and access to technical support are important to ensuring families remain connected, while special consideration needs to be given to particular cohorts, such as students in disrupted living situations. Finally, it was clear that interventions at an individual level can improve digital inclusion at the household level. More information on Connected Students and the findings: Download Connected Students Report The findings will be used in helping shape policy and programs to improve digital inclusion in Australia. Related research Findings from the Connected Students program have been published in scholarly publications including Telematics and Informatics and M/C Journal.