These Young Entrepreneurs Have A Plan To Bring The Internet To Detroit, The Least Connected City In America
So what if we treated the Internet like a public utility, as essential and ubiquitous as electricity or water, and piloted this in Detroit? A team of Forbes Under 30 alumni hacked at this problem; their idea: Connectivity For All, a three-step pilot program that would be a public-private partnership to create a quick-to-implement, self-sustaining system to bridge the digital divide. The team quickly realized that parts of their solution had already been figured out by local organizations — the biggest issue was funding. With that in mind, the team dreamed up of tech hubs — physical communi
Despite private-sector broadband investment exceeding $70 billion per year since 2013, the digital divide remains. Over 20 million households have access to, but are not connected via, a fixed broadband connection. This is a classic market failure. Without some government intervention, there will be an under-consumption of broadband. But what kind of intervention is called for?
The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare many of the inequalities in America, including the differences in access to broadband Internet. Three policies that can help: (1) allow cities to provide their own broadband; (2) expand and reform Lifeline; and (3) provide tax incentives to firms that subsidize their employees’ broadband. The first of these policies stimulates the “supply” of broadband, while the second two stimulate “demand.” Together, these policies should help reduce the digital divide.