Digital Divide

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

Small-Town Ingenuity Is Making Gigabit Broadband a Reality

The untold story of rural broadband is that over the past seven years, independent broadband networks have proliferated. Today, some of the fastest, most affordable internet in the country can be found in small communities. Despite small customer bases and razor-thin (or non-existent) margins, tenacious broadband providers across the country are proving that especially when unencumbered by competition-stifling legislation, they can bring world-class internet to their communities.

Chairman Pai visits with Utah veteran program to talk telehealth

Alethea Varra is the director of National Tele-Mental Health Hub continental region who said “our providers are giving this care to people who would not be getting it otherwise.” It’s a network of 29 clinicians providing online care to veterans. The program needs high-speed internet to work. On Aug 23, Varra met with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to talk about broadband speeds in some of the most remote areas in Utah.

In Arkansas, ‘Digital Redlining’ Could Leave Thousands Without Health Care

In June, Arkansas began rolling out a controversial change to its Medicaid program. Under a new state plan, all recipients who are able to work will have to log 80 working hours each month, or risk losing access to their health care. But finding a job might not be the biggest hurdle for many people. In order to stay eligible for Medicaid, Arkansas’s recipients must report their working hours each month, and it must be done online—the state doesn’t offer a way to do it via mail, telephone, or in person.

Rural Broadband’s Only Hope: Thinking Outside the Box?

According to a 2017 Federal Communications Commission Broadband Deployment Report, 92 percent of the total US population has access to both fixed terrestrial services at 25 Mbps/3 Mbps and mobile LTE at speeds of 5 Mbps/1 Mbps. But for those living in rural areas, only 68.6 percent of Americans have access to both services, compared to 97.9 percent of urban dwellers."These are big challenges that call for another rural electrification administration approach.

We can't tell if we're closing the digital divide without more data

Much has been made of the digital underpinning of many of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals – gender equality, good health, quality education, industry innovation, and smart and sustainable cities – and the need to set ICT sub-targets for them.

Illinois forms council to get seniors and low-income residents online

Gov Bruce Rauner (R-IL) signed into law a bill designed to increase broadband access for the state's growing, but less-connected older population. The bill establishes a 21-member Broadband Advisory Council tasked with figuring out why more seniors aren't using the internet, creating digital literacy programs to overcome those barriers and exploring new technologies to increase broadband connectivity for residents 65 years and older. Among the council members is the secretary of innovation and technology, a spot currently filled by state Chief Information Officer Kirk Lonbom.

Comcast Says Its Internet Essentials Has Now Helped 6 Million Low-Income Americans

Comcast has announced that its subsidized Internet program Internet Essentials has now been provided to six million low-income Americans, and that it will expand the program to nearly one million low-income military veterans. Comcast said it has connected two million users to Internet Essentials just in the last year—its largest annual increase to date.

You can build, but will they subscribe?

In 2016, 15.4 percent or 48.9 million people lived in low-adoption neighborhoods, down from almost one-fifth in 2015. However, when looking at the share of folks living in low adoption neighborhoods by rurality, interesting dynamics surface. In 2016, more than half or 55 percent of those living in low-adoption neighborhoods were rural folks.

[Roberto Gallardo is Assistant Director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development and a Purdue Extension Community & Regional Economics Specialist]

Obtaining indirect internet access: An examination how reasons for internet non-use relate to proxy internet use

As participation in society becomes largely dependent on use of internet-enabled technologies, internet non-users may seek alternative ways of using the internet. Proxy internet use (PIU), where internet non-users ask internet users to perform online activities on their behalf, is a strategy for obtaining (indirect) internet access.

Why the FCC’s E-rate Makes Funding High-Speed Internet a Slow Crawl

It’s one of the cruelest ironies in education: today’s schools must build and maintain robust high-speed, fiber-optic internet connections. But the process involved in finding funds for these upgrades can feel like a laggy dial-up modem, slow to a crawl—when it’s not cutting out completely. For more than 20 years, the Federal Communications Commission has directed the multi-billion dollar E-rate program, which provides taxpayer-supported construction and service discounts that districts and libraries can use toward internet costs.