Digital Divide

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

Alaska (Still) Aims to Use State Broadband Map to Get Its Fair Share of BEAD Funding

Engineering firm Dewberry Alaska—in collaboration with mapping company Ecopia AI, Rasmuson Foundation, and the State of Alaska—is working on a broadband map based on what Ecopia AI is calling “an accurate, up-to-date and complete map of every building, in both rural and urban areas, in the state.” Ecopia AI’s specialty is applying artificial intelligence (AI) to satellite imagery to identify buildings.

Indiana Connectivity Program Round 4 Awards

The Indiana Connectivity Program announced the fourth round of awards on Jan. 11, 2023. The fourth round of the program awarded $925,574 to expand broadband to 254 addresses across 30 counties. Of these addresses, 235 are homes and 19 are businesses. Internet providers carrying out the projects matched over $2.4 million for a total investment of over $3.3 million. The Indiana Connectivity Program aims to connect residents and businesses that lack access to broadband internet service with service providers and assist in the expense of extending broadband to those locations.

Closing the digital divide in Black America

The digital divide was first recognized in the mid-1990s. Three decades later, due in part to long-standing economic inequity and the economics of broadband, it remains an impediment to inclusive economic growth, particularly in Black American communities. There are five steps that state and local leaders and broadband stakeholders could take to expand broadband access and promote digital equity and inclusion in Black communities:

FCC Announces Over $40 Million In Emergency Connectivity Funding

The Federal Communications Commission is committing over $40 million in a new funding round through the Emergency Connectivity Program, which provides digital services for students in communities across the country. These funding commitments support applications from the third application window, benefiting approximately 100,000 students across the country, including students in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Washington, and Wisconsin. This announcement will fund applications from the third application window that will support over 275 schools, 15 libraries, and 5 consortia.

Broadband Networks Are Doing Well, Time to Shift to Adoption Gap

It turns out there are two digital divides in America. The first one is the familiar divide between those who have Internet subscriptions and those who don’t. Everyone agrees this is a persistent concern, with about 10 percent of the public lacking subscriptions at the last count.

Several cities deploy community Wi-Fi in US despite lack of national vision

It’s rather surprising that despite the fact that billions of dollars are about to be distributed to US states from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act for the purpose of closing the digital divide, there are no major government initiatives to establish community Wi-Fi in urban areas. The only federal funds currently available to help people access Wi-Fi are through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides discounts for internet service to eligible low-income households.

Sen Warner (D-VA) Presses FCC on Broadband Map Challenges

The Virginia Office of Broadband submitted a challenge to the Federal Communications Commission, pointing to a significant number of locations in Virginia that are currently incorrectly reported on the most recent FCC broadband coverage map. In partnership with Virginia Tech, the Virginia Office of Broadband found that there are approximately 358,000 locations in Virginia that are reported on the new map as being served when, in fact, they currently lack access to broadband.

Assessing Broadband Affordability Initiatives

Reducing the broadband affordability gap is an important and noble goal. Unfortunately, it is far from clear whether Lifeline, the federal program tasked with getting low-income households online, actually addresses this problem. For over a decade, academics, government watchdogs, and independent auditors have criticized the Federal Communications Commission’s inability or unwillingness to measure the program’s effectiveness—while private studies suggest much of this spending may be misdirected toward families at no risk of losing internet access.

Subsidies for Hotspot Devices a ‘Great Idea,’ FCC Chairwoman Says

Federal Communications Commissioner Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that using the E-rate program to subsidize mobile hotspot devices is a “great idea” and that there may be some activity on that front in the future. The chairwoman was fielding a comment from a mayor of a Texas city, who said that his jurisdiction has a program that lends out connectivity hubs – allowing others to connect to the device – in parts of the town for residents seeking internet. He asked whether that’s something that the FCC could fund.

Utah Broadband Center Opens Two New Grants

The Utah Broadband Center (UBC), powered by the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, announces two new broadband planning grants are available to help local governments, municipalities, nonprofits, and government agencies develop plans to expand high-speed internet access and adoption in Utah communities. These grants—funded by the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and the Digital Equity Act—empower local stakeholders to identify areas of the state that need increased investment in infrastructure, skills training, or access to devices to facilitate Utahns