Digital Divide

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

House Commerce Committee Chairman Pallone Stumps for Massive Broadband Investment

House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) took to the House floor to talk up the massive Moving Forward Act infrastructure bill, including its $100 billion in funding for broadband buildouts he says will close the digital divide. The $1.5 trillion-plus bill would allocate billions to subsidize broadband competition--including from municipal providers--in "underserved" areas which could mean where service is already provided by private capitol at just short of gig speeds.  "T

Senate Bill to Help Americans Keep Broadband Access During the Pandemic

Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and 26 Senate Democrats introduced the Emergency Broadband Connections Act to ensure that millions of Americans can access essential broadband connections in the middle of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The legislation would provide a $50/month benefit to workers who have been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic, along with a range of other assistance to ensure families can access critical online services.

Closing the K–12 Digital Divide in the Age of Distance Learning

A full 15 to 16 million public school students across the US live in households without adequate internet access or computing devices to facilitate distance learning. Almost 10% of public school teachers (300,000 to 400,000) are also caught in the gap, affecting their ability to run remote classes. The 32-page report, Closing the K–12 Digital Divide in the Age of Distance Learning, fixes a one-year price tag of at least $6 billion and as much as $11 billion to connect all kids at home, and an additional $1 billion to close the divide for teachers.

Millions of Americans Depend on Libraries for Internet. Now They’re Closed.

Since COVID-19 forced the Cherokee (IA) Public Library to close in mid-March, the computer lab is empty. But the library is still many residents’ most reliable source of connectivity to the digital world. Kids sit scattered in the library’s parking lot with phones or video game devices, catching some of the Wi-Fi outside that’s now left on 24/7. And Tyler Hahn, the library's director, spends his days trying to help some older patrons get online by shouting instructions to them through the library’s windows.

5G Deployment: FCC Needs Comprehensive Strategic Planning to Guide Its Efforts

As the latest generation of mobile communications, 5G networks are expected to provide faster connections to support consumer, industry, and public sector services. While private sector carriers deploy 5G networks, the Federal Communications Commission has a role in managing deployment challenges, such as how to allocate low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum for 5G use. The US Government Accountability Office was asked to review 5G deployment challenges.

Social Justice, Broadband Top Priorities for Smart Cities

Issues around equity, access to broadband and the broader social ills related to racism are finding a stronger foothold in smart city strategies. The compounding events of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its related economic fallout and nationwide protests calling attention to unjust policing and systematic racism are redefining how cities use technology as an instrument for achieving community goals. The coronavirus crisis, which either idled large segments of the economy or required workers to go remote, has laid bare lingering problems like the digital divide, as smart city leaders rethin

Pandemic internet aid is ending, but digital divide remains

Thousands of people in communities across the country are about to grapple with losing broadband service. Free services started to help low-income families during the pandemic and a pledge not to cut off service or charge late fees to customers struggling financially are ending June 30. If left unaddressed, this end threatens to unravel a precarious thread of the social safety net at a particularly difficult time for many American families.

Make broadband far more affordable

We urge Congress to establish a broadband credit — call it America’s Broadband Credit — to ensure many more people can afford high-speed Internet access. Congress could set a household subsidy of $50 per month, which is roughly the cost of medium-tier broadband plans in urban settings (and it could provide a higher subsidy for tribal lands). That subsidy would allow anyone and any device in the household to be connected to the Internet, simultaneously, which is how so many families today are operating.

What Chairman Pai is Telling Congress About the End of the Keep Americans Connected Pledge

Just over 100 days ago, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that a number of broadband and telephone service providers had volunteered to take what he calls the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. Over 780 companies took the pledge "in order to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of these exceptional circumstances." When first announced, the pledge was to last until May 12, 2020.

Chicago Connected Launches to Provide Free High-Speed Internet Service to Approximately 100K Students

Chicago Connected is a groundbreaking program that will provide free high-speed internet service to approximately 100,000 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students. This first-of-its-kind program will be one of the largest and longest-term efforts by any city to provide free, high-speed internet over the course of four years to increase internet access for students. According to Census data, an estimated 100,000 students lack access to high-speed internet in Chicago.