Digital Divide

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

Why rural Americans are having a hard time working from home

More than 18 million Americans -- about 5.6 percent of the US population -- lack access to high-speed internet, according to the Federal Communications Commission. And now that the pandemic is demanding most Americans do their jobs, complete schoolwork and access healthcar

The coronavirus crisis shines light on educational inequalities

The pandemic has exposed inequalities as education has moved online — work that can’t be performed at home, exposing usually lower-paid adults to greater risk; lack of access to child care and quality early learning; food insecurity; and a digital divide that prevents online learning during the crisis. Schools have stepped up to provide nutritional meals, computer equipment, Internet access and cover for essential workers, but they should not bear the burden alone.

Coronavirus pandemic shines light on deep digital divide in U.S. amid efforts to narrow it

When schools around the country began to close this spring because of the spread of the coronavirus, millions of students had the resources to transition to online learning — but not in Detroit (MI). Some 90 percent of the 51,000 students in the high-poverty Detroit Public Schools Community District did not have access to Internet services or the technology at home required for online learning. Teachers sent home packets of lessons on paper instead.

The FCC says all Americans are gaining advanced Internet access. It's wrong.

On April 24, the Federal Communications Commission released the nation's 2020 Broadband Progress Report. It concludes that broadband is being delivered to all Americans in a reasonable and timely way. But from where I sit, nothing could be further from the truth. I refused to offer my support for the 2020 Broadband Progress Report. That's because, in this crisis, it has become painfully clear that not everyone in the US has adequate Internet access. The evidence is all around us. We need to set broadband baseline standard to 100 megabits per second.

53% of Americans Say the Internet Has Been Essential During the COVID-19 Outbreak

A survey conducted in early April finds that roughly half of US adults (53%) say the internet has been essential for them personally during the pandemic and another 34% describe it as “important, but not essential.” The survey finds that a majority of Americans (62%) do not think it is the federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have a high-speed internet connection at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. And a similar share (65%) do not think the federal government should be responsible for ensuring cellphone services to all.

Libraries and Schools Are Bridging the Digital Divide During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Stay-at-home policies have made the web critical for tasks such as schoolwork, applying for unemployment benefits, and consulting with doctors. But millions of Americans lack reliable broadband access. Libraries, schools, and businesses are taking creative steps to expand Wi-Fi networks in underserved neighborhoods.

Expanding Connectivity to Fight COVID-19: Recommendations for Governments and Telcos

Access Now released "Expanding connectivity to fight COVID-19: recommendations for governments and telcos", a series of recommendations for telecommunications companies and governments that could help prevent people from losing their connections and improve connectivity, drawing lessons from the experiences of users at risk around the world. The recommendations include:

FCC Eases Lifeline Process for Unemployed Americans During Pandemic

The Federal Communications Commission made it easier for individuals who have lost their employment during the coronavirus pandemic and who qualify for Lifeline benefits to enroll in the Lifeline program. Specifically, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau temporarily waived the requirement that consumers seeking to qualify for the program based on their income must provide at least three consecutive months of income documentation. 

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.