Detroit’s Digital Divide


Coverage Type: press release
Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

We have had the pleasure of visiting the Motor City: Detroit (MI). Detroit’s digital divide is among the most extreme in the nation. Thirty-eight percent of its residents do not have broadband at home. For low-income households, the percentage offline is a whopping 63 percent. We were honored to meet with local leaders at Detroit’s Henry Ford Innovation Institute to discuss the impact of this digital divide in their community and identify possible solutions. We spoke about ongoing efforts at the Federal Communications Commission to help close the broadband gaps in cities like Detroit.

We discussed the FCC’s modernization of E-rate to support high-speed wired and wireless connectivity in our schools and libraries and the establishment of the Connect America Fund, which will invest $9 billion over six years to expand broadband to nearly 7.5 million rural customers. Looking ahead, we spoke about the need to reboot the Commission’s Lifeline program for the Internet age, which will help connect low-income Americans. But our main message to the people of Detroit was that the FCC cannot solve this problem on its own. There are multiple barriers to broadband adoption: from cost, to digital literacy to the fact that many Americans do not see the Internet as relevant to their lives. If we ever hope to achieve universal broadband in the United States, we will need a concerted effort from private sector leaders, the public interest community, and government officials at all levels.

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