Digital Divide

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

FCC USF Cap Pushback

Count Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) as critics of a proposal from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to explore a spending cap on telecommunications subsidies to expand telephone and broadband access. “Any effort that could harm classroom learning, broadband deployment, rural health opportunities, or connecting more individuals should be shelved and never considered again,” said Markey said of the FCC proposal, which would target Universal Service Fund programs.

Chairman Pai visits Woodland farms and the Sacramento region

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai visited Woodland and the Sacramento (CA) region on March 24 and 25, stopping at AgStart in downtown and the Muller Ranch west of town. “I’m in Sacramento, exploring #digitaldivide,” Chairman Pai announced via Twitter on March 25. “Appreciate local leaders sharing yesterday how broadband can benefit Californians in terms of telemedicine, precision agriculture, public safety communications, educational opportunity, and more.” Again, via Twitter, Chairman Pai said that “Broadband is increasingly critical to America’s farms and ranches.

Innovators in Digital Inclusion: E2D

In this series, the Benton Foundation and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) explore the origins, strategies, challenges and funding mechanisms for successful digital inclusion organizations. In this article, we examine E2D, also known as Eliminate the Digital Divide -- a nonprofit in Charlotte (NC) that began with a focus on closing the homework gap. The mission of E2D is to ensure that all students have affordable access to essential at-home technology and digital literacy training to support academic success and prepare students for college, careers, and beyond.

For Tacoma, Broadband Competition is Just a Click! Away

The City of Tacoma (WA) is engaged in an effort to ensure that our public broadband network, Click!, continues to support our community well for decades to come. My colleagues and I recognize that we, like all American cities, stand on the front lines of efforts to achieve equity and opportunity. And, as broadband internet becomes a more critical foundational element of our economy and a vital tool for democratic engagement, our efforts must extend to ensuring it is deployed in a way that supports our efforts.

Still buffering: How East Texas lags the rest of the state in broadband

As a broadband connection becomes more integrated into life in the 21st century — from working to studying to keeping in touch with loved ones — rural East Texas continues to lag the rest of the state. Forty percent of people living in 41 East Texas counties did not have broadband in 2016, compared with 11 percent of the population statewide.

A broadband agenda for the (eventual) infrastructure bill

What should be the broadband agenda for infrastructure legislation? Here are some key principles.

Wi-Fi devices from the library could help fill internet deserts in South Carolina

With high-speed internet access hard to find in South Carolina’s rural and high-poverty areas, some public libraries are trying something new: letting patrons check out free wireless hotspots that can connect to the internet just about anywhere. Public libraries are letting patrons check out personal Wi-Fi devices.

Chairman Pai Remarks at Georgia Chamber of Commerce

I'd like to give a brief high-level overview of the Federal Communications Commission's priorities and activities since I became Chairman in January 2017. In 2019, if you can’t get online, the field is tilted against you—whether you’re a student, entrepreneur, a farmer, or someone with a chronic healthcare issue. To highlight this digital divide, I’ve made it a point to get out of Washington (DC) whenever I can. I’ve seen firsthand the ways that digital technologies are transforming communities.

FCC Commissioner Starks Says Pai Report Needs an Edit

Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said the “rosy picture” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave on broadband access needs to be reworked before the agency votes on its annual deployment report. Chairman Pai first teased the report in Feb 2019, saying he’d circulated it to his fellow commissioners and hoped to get a vote on it soon (commissioners can vote in favor of adopting the annual report or can dissent if they disagree with its findings).

Broadband 'moonshot' has rural Minnesotans hopeful

Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has made the issue of rural broadband a major talking point as she begins her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Gov Tim Walz (D-MN) has promised he’d attack the problem like a “moonshot.” Meanwhile, a Republican-sponsored bill with bipartisan support is making its way through the Minnesota Legislature, promising $35 million a year in each of the next two years for rural broadband upgrades. All the talk about addressing the issue is encouraging, broadband advocates say.