Digital Divide

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

Members of Congress, Digital-Rights and Social-Justice Advocates Call for COVID-19 Legislation to Support Phone and Internet Access for All

Access Now, Common Sense Media, Consumer Reports, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action, Libraries Without Borders, MediaJustice, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, New America’s Open Technology Institute and Public Knowledge jointly delivered more than 110,000 petition signatures to the Congress.

Online Schooling Has a Tech Issue That No Apps Can Fix

Despite the many tools at teachers’ disposal, many of their students aren’t able to connect due to a lack of computers, stable internet connections, or support at home to keep them focused on schoolwork.

More Than 200 Industry, Public Interest Groups Unite to Tell Congress that Americans Need Broadband During Pandemic

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society joined Public Knowledge and 216 other public interest, government, industry, civil rights, rural advocacy, and academic groups — alongside schools and libraries — in a letter urging Congress to support access to affordable broadband internet in forthcoming COVID-19 stimulus packages.

Groups Petition Congress for Broadband Billions During Pandemic

Backed by Sens Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a dozen internet access activist groups have generated over 110,000 signatures on a petition to Congress to include funds in the next COVID-19 aid bill to make sure every American has internet and phone service during the pandemic. The groups backing the petition are Access Now, Common Sense Media, Consumer Reports, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action, Libraries Without Borders, MediaJustice, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, New America’s Open Technology Institu

Off‐Campus Internet Connectivity Needs of K‐12 School Students and Public Library Patrons in the United States During COVID‐19 Pandemic

A report that summarizes the need to connect millions of K‐12 students to the Internet from their home because they lack adequate internet access. These students cannot attend school, submit homework, or take tests online. An estimated $7.5 billion is required to provide these students with a secure and reliable network connection and connected learning device. Funds For Learning estimates that a total of $5.25 billion in E-rate discounts would be required, and the remaining $2.29 billion would be paid by schools and libraries with funding from other sources.

What It Might Look Like to Safely Reopen Schools

Drawn from interviews with public health experts, education officials and educators around the country, here's what reopening might look like. Includes "Remote learning continues": Every expert NPR spoke with predicted that the need for remote learning would continue because of staggered schedules, schools prepared to close again for future waves of infection, and many students needing remediation. And that means training and support for teachers, and equipment for children.

During the Pandemic, the FCC Must Provide Internet for All

During Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s tenure, the number of Lifeline recipients has decreased by 40 percent and the program’s budget has shrunk accordingly. Less than 20 percent of Americans who are eligible for Lifeline take advantage of it. While Chairman Pai cloaks his so-called Lifeline “reforms” as efforts to root out “waste, fraud, and abuse,” the majority of his actions have little to do with maintaining the integrity of the program and more to do with harming its recipients.

$5.25 billion needed for student broadband and devices

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition believes the “Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020” (H.R. 6563), introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), is extremely important to help students engage in online learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation will provide $2 billion in emergency supplemental funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program to fund broadband connections and devices for the millions of students that do not have broadband at home.

To Climb Without a Ladder

As a result of COVID-19, over 300,000 University System of Georgia students have returned home to finish their courses online. Now more than ever, I have realized the great digital divide in our state, and because of it, high-achieving students, particularly in rural Georgia, are suffering immensely. It is imperative that we all seek to use the anti-deficit perspective for the sake of students.

A new chance to close the digital divide

The “digital divide” in the accessibility of telecommunications services remains far too wide — and that current needs give urgency to closing it. A lack of sufficient Internet access is very likely keeping 12 million students from doing distance learning while their schools are closed.And the more that low-income communities are dependent on temporary grace from telecom providers, the more they have to lose when this is all over. New ideas are clearly required.