Is US Broadband Up to the Response to the Coronavirus?
Broadband makes telehealth, telework, and distance learning possible. But is U.S. broadband up to the task of delivering these services to everyone in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19)? Both the government and private sector are moving to online systems and operations, but not everyone in the US can easily follow. Large hospitals across the country are quickly expanding the use of telemedicine to safely screen and treat patients for coronavirus, and to try to contain the spread of infection while offering remote services. But rural communities face limited access to health-care facilities and physicians—and too many are also digitally isolated. As part of China's response to COVID-19, tens of millions of workers were forced to work from home. Are we ready for that in the US? Managers are realizing that shifting gears is not as simple as telling someone to power up their computer at home. Schools across the US are closing temporarily to protect their students. But if school closings become widespread and long-term, how will it impact learning and burden families? Many fear the impact on students at schools with fewer resources, and the potential of these unique circumstances to widen the already gaping divides in education.
Is U.S. Broadband Up to the Response to the Coronavirus?