Digital Divide

The gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all.

USForward: FCC Must Reform USF Contributions Now - An Analysis of the Options

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Universal Service Fund (USF or Fund) has been one of the nation’s most important tools for connecting our nation, including rural communities, low-income families, schools, libraries, and rural health care facilities. However, the funding mechanism that supports the Fund is under significant duress. The “contribution base” – the revenues used to calculate USF contributions – has declined 63% in the last two decades, from $79.9 billion in 2001 to $29.6 billion in 2021.

The Internet and the Pandemic

Results from a new survey of US adults reveal the extent to which people’s use of the internet has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, their views about how helpful technology has been for them and the struggles some have faced. The vast majority of adults (90%) say the internet has been at least important to them personally during the pandemic, the survey finds. The share who say it has been essential – 58% – is up slightly from 53% in April 2020.

Senate Passes $1 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

The Senate gave overwhelming bipartisan approval to the $1 trillion infrastructure bill to rebuild the nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges and fund new climate resilience and broadband initiatives, delivering a key component of President Biden’s agenda. The legislation would be the largest infusion of federal investment into infrastructure projects in more than a decade, touching nearly every facet of the American economy and fortifying the nation’s response to the warming of the planet. The bill allocates $65 billion for broadband infrastructure in these areas:

Senate finishing crafting $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal, including $65 billion for broadband

Senate Democrats and Republicans unveiled a roughly $1 trillion proposal to improve the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections, setting in motion a long-awaited debate in the chamber to enact one of President Biden’s economic policy priorities. The roughly 2,700-page piece of legislation, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, includes $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access nationwide and ensure those who do have connectivity can afford their monthly payments.

Our Challenge to Finally Close the Digital Divide

This is a historic time for broadband investment. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the high costs of being offline. In response, Congress, over the past year, passed two laws—the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan—with an unprecedented amount of funding devoted to promoting digital equity. Communities should be engaged now to help craft long-term connectivity goals and ensure that diverse voices are part of the discussion—and that’s our job.

Lawmakers Reach Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

President Joe Biden and the bipartisan group of lawmakers announced agreement on the details of a once-in-a-generation investment in US infrastructure, which will be taken up in the Senate for consideration. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal includes a total $550 billion in new federal infrastructure investment.

Four million households join Emergency Broadband program

Over four million households have enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, the nation’s largest broadband affordability program to date. The $3.2 billion subsidy program initiated by Congress provides a temporary $50 to $75 discount on eligible households’ internet bills during the duration of the pandemic. “We’ve made terrific progress," said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, "but the [Federal Communications Commission] remains committed to building on this initial momentum so we can connect as many families as possible and help those struggling to get online.” Since the p

Broadband in the Black Rural South

New research from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Expanding Broadband in the Black Rural South, highlights the importance of addressing the digital divide—and doing it as soon as possible. The Joint Center examined the overlooked and unique plight of Black residents in rural counties with populations that are at least 35 percent Black (152 counties in 10 Southern states), which the Joint Center refers to as the “Black Rural So

Everyone Complains About the Lack of Competition. Now Someone Wants to Do Something About It.

As the debate about investing in broadband infrastructure continues in Washington this month, it was heartening to see that President Joseph Biden acted to address competition in residential broadband service. Here's a quick look at what he did. On July 9, President Biden signed an Executive Order launching a "whole-of-government" effort to promote competition across the economy. The Executive Order includes 72 initiatives.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit has thus far enrolled just 1 in 12 eligible households, but places with low broadband adoption rates show better results

Two weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission released data on how many households have signed up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), a program created by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers eligible households a discount of up to $50 per month on broadband service.