Coronavirus and Connectivity

Through our Headlines news service, Benton is tracking the role of broadband in the response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Click on titles below for full summaries of articles and links to sources.

Remarks of Commissioner Starks at 9th Annual Americas Spectrum Management Conference

The past few months have underscored a basic truth: full participation in civil society requires an internet connection. Wireless technologies, including emerging 5G technologies, have an important role to play here. That’s why we must do more to make high-quality, affordable broadband, including 5G wireless service, available to everyone. In planning and promoting the deployment of advanced wireless networks, we have an opportunity to promote digital inclusion and combat longstanding inequalities.

ACA Connects and EducationSuperHighway Announce Partnership on ‘K-12 Bridge to Broadband’ Initiative to Meet Student Connectivity Needs

ACA Connects and EducationSuperHighway announced they are partnering in support of the “K-12 Bridge to Broadband” initiative to connect students with online learning.

The Digital Divide Starts With a Laptop Shortage

Millions of children are encountering all sorts of inconveniences that come with digital instruction during the coronavirus pandemic. But many students are facing a more basic challenge: They don’t have computers and can’t attend classes held online. A surge in worldwide demand by educators for low-cost laptops and Chromebooks — up to 41 percent higher than last year — has created monthslong shipment delays and pitted desperate schools against one another.

No Home, No Wi-Fi: Pandemic Adds to Strain on Poor College Students

Trapped between the financial hardships of the pandemic and the technological hurdles of online learning, the millions of low-income college students across America face mounting obstacles in their quests for higher education.

While 10G is cable's future, better upstream speeds are its present

As a whole, the cable industry's upstream held up well during the Covid-19 pandemic, but with the increased use of video conferencing and other tools associated with work-from-home and online learning, cable operators need to accelerate their efforts on expanding the upstream according to CommScope CTO Tom Cloonan. "In the upstream, we've seen that it's grown by about 25% over what it was in February," Cloonan said. "So that's a big jump.

Remarks Of FCC Chief Of Staff Matthew Berry At Spectrum Management Conference Panel On "Covid-19—What Impact And Lessons For The Spectrum Community?"

The Federal Communications Commission has so far approved over 230 COVID-19 related Special Temporary Authorities (STAs). What has been the result? During the pandemic, we’ve been very pleased by the performance of our nation’s wireless networks. For example, according to Ookla, notwithstanding increased demand, in April average mobile broadband download speeds in the United States were actually faster than they were in February, before the pandemic hit, and they’ve gotten faster since.

Pandemic Exposes Europe’s Creaking Internet for All to See

Europe’s internet infrastructure is riddled with gaps and bottlenecks, exposed over the past seven months by surging hospital admissions to the rise of home working and explosion of e-commerce.

Tech companies step up to bring free Wi-Fi to L.A. public housing residents

Nearly 9,000 residents of public housing in Los Angeles will receive free broadband internet access for the rest of the 2020-21 school year as part of a new partnership between the city, Microsoft, and the startup internet service provider Starry. Starting in early Nov, residents of the Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens and Imperial Courts housing projects in Watts and the Pueblo del Rio complex in Central Alameda will be able to sign up for the service. They join residents of the Mar Vista Gardens, who have had access since Aug. The new partnership comes as L.A.

Kansas governor announces broadband projects, plan for future

Gov Laura Kelly (D-KS) announced that 49 million dollars is being sent out to Kansas communities to provide or improve access to the internet. As the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the need for better internet access across the state, government officials are hoping the expansion project will help more Kansans get connected. The money is part of more than $1 billion in CARES Act funding that state leaders had to decide how to spend. There are 67 projects. One is $5.9 million to help a group of underserved cities in Southwest Kansas, including Plains, Fowler, and Meade.

‘Just Good Enough’ Broadband Isn’t Good Enough

The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a bright spotlight on the fact that we still need to connect all Americans with the best possible broadband, no matter whether they live in urban or rural areas or upper or lower-income neighborhoods. The problem is that too many have a shortsighted view of what “the best broadband” means. To some, it means “just good enough” – speeds or latency that may appear okay today but will fall short tomorrow.