In an era where most people take mobile broadband technology for granted, one out of four Fresno County households lack any internet access whatsoever – not even a smartphone. It’s indicative of a “digital divide” that puts low-income and rural households at an economic and educational disadvantage relative to residents who have ready access to up-to-date internet technology. Nationwide, about 17 million households – or 14% of U.S. households – have no internet access.
The federal government is working on guidelines to help people keep wireless carrier coverage during emergencies, but California lawmakers worry the agency is prioritizing hurricanes over wildfires. Without proper guidance, lawmakers fear victims of wildfires could be left further disadvantaged and without necessary tools of communication during disasters. The Federal Communications Commission is indicating it does not plan to include information specific to the wildfires that have devastated thousands of Californians. Some California lawmakers, lead by Rep.