Digital Divide

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

How Public Input Helped Shape NTIA’s High-Speed Internet Grant Programs Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

On January 7, 2022, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration requested public comment on a wide range of policy and program considerations associated with the new high-speed internet grant programs authorized and funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). NTIA received 557 thoughtful and informative written responses from state and local governments, non-profit and community-based organizations, schools, internet service providers, industry associations and individuals.

Delivering to deserts: New data reveals the geography of digital access to food in the US

Digital food access could be a game-changer for people who struggle with brick-and-mortar food access barriers, including those living in disinvested areas historically defined as “food deserts” and individuals facing mobility challenges or time constraints.

A Disturbing View of Future Cable Broadband

Sean McDevitt, a partner at Arthur D. Little, a consulting firm that largely works for the giant ISPs, says cable companies are not likely to universally upgrade broadband networks in the future. In the past, when a cable company migrated from DOCSIS 1.0, to 2.0, and to 3.0 everybody in a community was upgraded to the latest technology. He says going forward that it’s almost certain that there will not be across-the-board upgrades.

US government and Jamaica partner for high-speed internet deployment

Experts from the US Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) partnered with the Spectrum Management Authority and other technology agencies within the Government of Jamaica to expand and expedite broadband internet service to underserved communities in the country.

How small Kansas companies bring fast internet to rural places that telecom giants ignore

Installing fiber-optic internet in sparsely populated places like western Kansas is extremely expensive, even with government subsidies. But some smaller, local broadband providers are finding ways to make it work where the big national companies have not. Federal and state governments have poured billions into trying to bring more bandwidth to the remote corners of the country. But for many people in rural places, it hasn’t made any difference. An estimated 42 million Americans still don’t have high-speed internet, or what most people today simply think of as internet.

Maine communities lacking broadband look for boost amid record funding

A connection to high-speed and reliable internet is a necessity in most homes, but tens of thousands of Mainers are still lagging behind. According to state data, nearly 80,000 households in Maine don't meet the minimum standard for high-speed internet. The State of Maine is expected to distribute a record amount of funding in 2022 to help connect the tens of thousands of residents who are considered unserved by high-speed internet.

In Maine and nationwide, high broadband cost is part of the digital divide

The Biden administration rolled out the Affordable Connectivity Program to help low-income people pay for service. The federal government should not stop with this subsidy program when it addresses the affordability component of the digital divide. Internet service providers (ISPs) will get a lot of new customers as the government pays to extend service to areas that have not been worth serving when the companies were stringing the wires, and it would be a shame if the businesses were allowed to use their near-monopolies to drive up prices for everyone else.

Local Areas Band Together for Rural Broadband in Nebraska

Loup Power District is developing a funding resolution that can lead to the construction of a 300-mile backbone network to help area farmers receive high-speed broadband. The effort will affect residents in four rural counties: Boone, Colfax, Nance and Platte (NE). The power company is developing a funding resolution that would be executed by each public entity involved in a potential backbone network in the four-county area.

Missouri Legislature’s broadband spending falls short of governor’s proposal

The Missouri Legislature approved several pockets of broadband funding in the state budget this session, but the total remains millions short of the governor's recommendations. The Missouri General Assembly passed a record state budget totaling $49 billion, which now awaits Gov Mike Parson (R-MO)'s approval. The budget includes roughly $372 million for broadband internet development and programs -- nearly $100 million lower than a plan proposed by Parson. At the 2021 state fair, Parson announced a plan to invest $400 million in broadband development across the state.

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Circulates Ruling Making Wi-Fi On School Buses Eligible For E-Rate Funding

For more than two decades, E-Rate has provided vital support to help connect schools and libraries to high-speed, modern communications all across the country. It got its start as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Over 25 million children take the bus to school every day. In rural areas that ride can be long. It can easily be an hour to school and an hour to return home at the end of the day.