Digital Divide

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

Tribal communities are about to get a $2 billion broadband funding boost

Much media and industry attention has been focused on the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program since Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and for good reason. The $42.5 billion BEAD program alone accounts for the majority of the $65 billion in broadband funding the IIJA allocated to fuel broadband projects across the country. But Tribal communities are set to get their own dedicated influx of broadband funding, with money expected to flow in the coming months.

Indiana internet service providers and co-ops band together to offer statewide middle mile fiber

Local telecoms and cooperatives continue to organize to improve connectivity in their states, with Indiana becoming the latest hub of activity. A group of 17 internet service providers and cooperatives formed Hoosier Net, a consortium which aims to leverage members’ fiber assets to offer statewide middle mile infrastructure. Indiana previously had a statewide fiber provider called Intelligent Fiber Network which boasted more than 5,000 route miles of infrastructure.

New York City’s plan for public internet is paused under Mayor Adams

An ambitious plan to bring affordable high-speed internet to millions of people across New York City (NY) has been put on pause, leaving the poorest New Yorkers hanging while the Adams administration decides whether to proceed. The Internet Master Plan, which was announced in January 2020 by former Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NY), was designed to help more than 1.5 million city residents who do not have any kind of internet access. It also aimed to bring more competition to areas with only one internet provider.

Levelling up push sees more than 5,000 public buildings plugged into high-speed broadband

More than 5,000 public buildings–including schools, hospitals and libraries–have been connected to high-speed broadband thanks to a United Kingdom Government scheme to level up public services. 1,200 schools, 340 libraries and 50 hospitals across UK are among those connected to gigabit-speed broadband.

Get Ready for the Challenge Process

There is one interesting aspect of the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program grants that could impact any rural community that is hoping to find a broadband solution from the $42.5 billion BEAD grant process. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is allowing local governments to challenge the broadband maps that will be used to determine the areas that are eligible for the grants. This is something that communities should be getting ready for today.

National Strategy Needed to Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Digital Divide

Broadband internet is increasingly critical for work, school, shopping, and other parts of daily life. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the "digital divide" and the disadvantages for people who don't have access. In its efforts to expand broadband access, the federal government has subsidized investment in rural areas that haven't attracted private investment. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified over 100 federal programs—administered by 15 agencies—that could be used to expand access.

Dish calls out Elon Musk for tweets about Starlink and RVs

Dish Network sent a letter May 27 to SpaceX demanding that the company retract statements that it says could trigger interference with Dish satellite TV services. The letter came after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that Starlink is available for RVs, campers and other large vehicle users but didn’t state that the service can’t be used on moving vehicles.

Partnership will bring high-speed internet to Mansfield, Louisiana

The city of Mansfield (LA) is getting ready to build its own $5 million fiber-based broadband network that will give every household and business in the city access to high-speed internet. It will be the first true public-private partnership broadband network in the state, according to Louisiana Connected, the Black-owned tech company working with the city to build the fiberoptic system.

California Bill Would Make New Broadband Networks More Expensive

The state of California is primed to bring 21st-century fiber access at affordable rates to every Californian. All of the recent state and federal efforts will help bring every Californian affordable fiber internet access. But a bill in the California legislature threatens to undo all of that good work. A.B.

Affordable Connectivity Program Commitments by Internet Service Providers

On May 9, 2022, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced that they have secured commitments from 20 internet service providers to lower high-speed internet costs for US consumers. The providers are all participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program, a $14.2 billion federal program created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to subsidize broadband service for