The gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all.
The findings from the three Communications Equity and Diversity Council working groups offer guidance to states and localities seeking to prohibit “digital discrimination” in broadband deployment, adoption, and use, as well as in the contracting and grants processes for funds related to forthcoming broadband infrastructure.
In January 2020, under former Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NY), New York City released an ambitious $2.1 billion plan for universal broadband across the city — the first effort of any large US city to strategize delivery of equitable internet access to all its residents. The proposal was to build a “neutral host” infrastructure that could be shared by multiple internet operators rather than a single company, increasing competition to the entrenched private companies that had failed to address New York’s digital divide.
At the height of the pandemic in April 2020, the City of Chicago learned that roughly 1 in 5 K-12-aged students did not have internet access at home. Schools had shifted to remote learning, and Chicago needed to act quickly to ensure that students could continue their education from home.
On November 1, trade association INCOMPAS met with Federal Communications Commission officials to discuss the state of competition in the communications marketplace. INCOMPAS discussed how the FCC should continue to view fixed and mobile broadband internet access service (BIAS) as separate product markets and complementary services when reporting on the state of competition in the communications marketplace. Consumers prefer access to both fixed and mobile BIAS as each service plays a critical and distinct role.
The digital divide needs to be closed for society to grow, but without the high demand to ensure a return on investment, many smaller, less fortunate communities risk falling behind in a widening gap. The longer larger companies wait to prioritize these regions, the further isolated the people who live there may become from the rapidly digitizing future. Who will take ownership to bring those communities across the digital divide?
Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY) announced that New York's ConnectALL Office has submitted over 31,000 addresses from across the state to the Federal Communications Commission under the Broadband Data Collection challenge process. The federal challenge process, which allows states to propose changes or updates to the FCC's broadband maps, helps to better locate areas unserved or underserved by broadband.
New York City (NY) has an agreement with CityBridge, the team behind LinkNYC, that involves installing 2,000 5G towers over the next several years, an effort to help eliminate the city’s “internet deserts.” Ninety percent will be in underserved areas of the city — neighborhoods in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and above 96th Street in Manhat
This report, mandated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, details the work of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives (OMBI) in expanding access and identifying barriers to high-speed internet service for students, faculty, and staff at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBU), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) and within anchor communities. Examples of OMBI’s key 2021-2022 accomplishments highlighted in the report include:
Sacramento and Seattle are the best cities in the US when it comes to digital and internet equity, offering more widely available and affordable internet access than other major cities in the US, according to a new analysis by the non-profit United Way of the National Capital Area (NCA). Research by the Federal Communications Commission finds that 19 million Americans – approximately 6% of the country’s population – lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds.
America’s libraries have deep experience in meeting digital equity needs for people of all ages and backgrounds with unparalleled reach and trust across the nation. Libraries are actively involved in a larger digital equity ecosystem, and often have long-established partnerships and relationships with local and regional groups that can be leveraged to achieve community broadband equity goals for vulnerable populations.