Digital Divide

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

Recap: Oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

The Senate's Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband convened an oversight hearing on the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and its implementation of the broadband programs in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson was the sole witness. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $65 billion in funding to connect all Americans to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.

Butler County (OH) broadband project moving forward

There are around 157,000 households in Butler County, Ohio, and it is estimated about 45% are lacking adequate internet access so the Butler County commissioners approved seeking proposals to rectify the situation. The commissioners have agreed to spend $10 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds and officially voted to issue a request for proposals and qualifications to handle the new program. County Administrator Judi Boyko has been working on the project for months and plans to issue the formal request June 13.

Capital Projects Fund Aids West Virginia's Billion Dollar Broadband Strategy

In October 2021, Governor Jim Justice (R-WV) announced a billion-dollar strategy to bring broadband access to 200,000 homes and businesses in West Virginia. “We’ve been talking for years about how to fix the rural broadband problem. Now we’re finally going to do it," he said. The plan got a $136 million boost from the U.S.

FCC Proposes Rules For Collecting Price And Subscription Rates Of Affordable Connectivity Program Service Offerings

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed rules for collecting data on the price and subscription rates of internet service offerings received by households enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program, to comply with a mandate in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeks comment on the data to be collected, format for publishing, and timing of the collection, as well as measures for protecting personally identifiable or proprietary information.

Treasury Helps Broadband for Everyone in Louisiana

Louisiana is aiming to close the digital divide in the state by 2029. Getting there could cost over $1 billion. This week, the state partnered with the U.S. Department of Treasury to help reach that goal. On June 7, Treasury approved Louisiana for $176.7 million of support from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF).

Baltimore Looks to Expand Internet Access by Building Its Own Network

Baltimore has an audacious goal to build a city-owned broadband service that could give its poorest residents equal access to digital resources for education, medical services and jobs. The plan lands the port city an hour from the nation’s capital squarely in the middle of a national debate over who deserves a chunk of the $95 billion in federal funding Congress allocated to close the digital divide. It also pits local officials against Comcast, the cable giant that already serves the city. “Access is too important to leave to the market and private actors.

Pennsylvania’s definition of broadband hasn’t changed in nearly 20 years

Everyone in Pennsylvania has access to broadband—at least, according to the definition set by state lawmakers in the early 2000s. But ask residents of rural areas about their internet speeds, and you’ll likely hear about slow connections and outdated technology. In 1993, the state legislature approved a sweeping measure they hoped would guarantee universal access to high-speed internet in Pennsylvania.

American Rescue Plan Fuels Virginia's Universal Broadband Efforts

On July 2, 2018, then-Governor Ralph Northam (D-VA) announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia should achieve functionally universal broadband coverage within 10 years. Reaching that goal would be no easy feat. At the time, Virginia was investing just $4 million a year into its broadband program and 660,000 Virginians did not have access to high-speed internet. This week, Virginia's efforts got a big boost when the U.S. Department of Treasury approved nearly $220 million to support broadband deployment projects in the Commonwealth.

As Rocky Mount, North Carolina, prepares for new fiber internet network, rural areas face their own struggles with broadband access

A new effort to install a fiber network could soon bring high speed broadband throughout Rocky Mount (NC). But some living in rural areas outside the city limits have concerns that the digital divide in their neighborhoods will keep growing. On May 20, city leaders announced telecommunications company Metronet would be spending $20 million to lay a fiber network throughout the city limits, bringing high speed internet as soon as next spring. While Rocky Mount celebrated, neighboring communities said they're worried about being left behind.

Study: Illinois’ broadband investment will help address 'digital divide,' 'pay for itself'

A $400 million investment in broadband internet infrastructure approved by Illinois lawmakers in 2019 could pay for itself by added tax revenues alone within four years of completion of construction. That's according to a report by the University of Illinois Project for Middle Class Renewal and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, which estimated an additional 238,000 households, businesses and farms would have new internet accessibility as a result of the state funding combined with at least $100 million in new federal funding and other nonstate funds.