Even as lawmakers in Washington advance both of President Biden’s signature proposals to strengthen and expand America’s social safety net, it is doing conspicuously little to address one of the more pressing issues facing low-income communities of color across the country: a lack of access to affordable and reliable broadband internet.
The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is enshrined into law, but the lobbying over its implementation is just getting started.
In 2020, we saw the consequences of the digital divide: the have and the have nots of broadband. Many students—particularly children and those residing in predominantly rural areas—fell unacceptably behind. 2021 is proving to be no different, and in some communities, it is even more dire, as many schools offer fewer online options for families. Thankfully, there are a few ways we can ensure that students are not left behind:
Congratulations are due to Congress and President Biden's team for the passage of the landmark infrastructure bill. Now it is time to probe where the execution might need additional help. After all, anything that makes it through a politically complex process is far from ideal — the outcome is a compromise that never solves the whole problem. Consider the $65 billion allocated for broadband internet that had rare bipartisan support and has one of the biggest gaps to close.