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 Cable Operators Beef Up Broadband to Battle Coronavirus

Small cable operators are answering the call to provide wider access to broadband services as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt lives across the country, offering free service to low-income qualifying homes and beefing up speeds to account for increased traffic as residents increasingly work from home. While larger companies like Comcast, Charter, Altice USA and others have grabbed headlines with their broadband offerings during the crisis, small cable is stepping up to the plate too, including Mediacom Communications, Shenandoah Telecommunications (Shentel) and TDS Telecom.

How broadband inequality complicates COVID-19 school closures in rural areas

To help illustrate some of the stark realities of what rural Americans are experiencing in the wake of this monumental health crisis, Center on Rural Innovation’s Mapping and Data Analytics team has created an interactive broadband map to better visualize and understand broadband availability across America’s school districts. The maps consider broadband to be internet service that:

Philadelphia schools forbid graded ‘remote instruction’ during shutdown for equity concerns

The School District of Philadelphia will not allow teachers to do “remote instruction” with students while schools are closed during the coronavirus outbreak. Because the district cannot ensure equal access to technology among students, it’s barring individual schools from providing graded virtual instruction. Superintendent William Hite said teachers cannot require students to do work remotely or grade them on that work.

COVID-19 shines light on 'digital divide' across the US

With the COVID-19 outbreak in full swing in the US, schools and businesses across the country are closing down, employees are being asked to rely on their broadband connections to work remotely and school-aged children are attending "school" remotely via the internet. But for large numbers of Americans, broadband connectivity simply isn't available

What the coronavirus reveals about the digital divide between schools and communities

With a disproportionate number of school-age children lacking home broadband access, the breadth of the US digital divide has been revealed as schools struggle to substitute in-school resources with online instruction, electronic libraries, streaming videos, and other online tutorials. In the US, there are approximately 480,000 school buses that transport about 25 million students on a  weekly basis to school and back. With newly installed Wi-Fi hotspots, these buses can maintain the integrity of current social distancing.

FCC Waives Lifeline Rules to Help Keep Low-Income Consumers Connected

The Federal Communications Commission announced changes to the Lifeline program to assist program participants potentially affected by the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and aid community efforts to slow its spread. The FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau waived the Lifeline program’s recertification and reverification requirements for participating low-income consumers for 60 days.

FCC Must Act Quickly As COVID-19 Threatens Healthcare, Education

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition asked the Federal Communications Commission to expedite affordable broadband solutions for unconnected Americans. The novel coronavirus is driving schools to online learning and increasing healthcare providers’ reliance on telehealth solutions.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel on staying connected during a pandemic

A Q&A with Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

Asked, "What are the immediate short-term steps that the FCC and the broadband companies can take, and what are the medium and long-term steps that could help us be better prepared in the future?"

Our Internet Isn’t Ready for Coronavirus

Just as our public health system appears unable to cope with the spread of the coronavirus, our residential broadband, video conferencing platforms and VPNs are about to face unprecedented strain. That strain will have serious consequences, not just for the performance of our broadband networks but also for student access to education and the security of corporate data and networks. The performance issues might be worse in rural areas, where internet service is already less reliable than it is in big cities.

Coronavirus Fight Lays Bare Education’s Digital Divide

For all of China’s economic advancements in recent decades, the rudiments of connected life — capable smartphones, reliable internet — remain out of reach for large segments of the population.