Digital Divide

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

Remarks of FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at the Fourth Meeting of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

Nearly one year ago, during the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) inaugural meeting, I urged this Committee to consider the needs and the capacity of low-income communities as you develop policy recommendations. I also reminded the Committee that all municipalities, areas, and communities are not created equal. It was thus my hope that the BDAC’s consensus-based approach would incorporate the concerns expressed by local government representatives of this Committee.

UN Broadband Commission sets global broadband targets to bring online the world’s 3.8 billion not connected to the Internet

Fifty percent of the world's population is expected to be connected to the Internet by the end of 2019. This leaves the other half – an estimated 3.8 billion people – unconnected and unable to benefit from key social and economic resources in our expanding digital world. In response, the United Nations' Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development has set seven ambitious yet achievable 2025 targets in support of  "Connecting the Other Half" of the world's population. 

Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development 2025 Targets:

Remarks of Chairman Pai at Fourth Meeting of Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

Today happens to be the one-year anniversary of the President appointing me the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. That marker meshes well with today’s proceedings, for a couple of reasons. First, the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) work is critical to my top policy priority as FCC Chairman—closing the digital divide. A second reason why this one-year anniversary means something is that the BDAC reflects a core tenet of my policymaking approach: that the decisions we make inside this building must reflect input and fresh ideas from outside these walls.

To Bridge the Digital Divide or Not…That Is the Question as the FCC Cut Back Its Lifeline Program

Since Chairman Ajit Pai took over the leadership of the Federal Communications Commission, he has emphasized that one of his main goals has been to “close the digital divide and bring the benefits of the Internet age to all Americans.” So it comes as no surprise that the FCC has taken several measures recently to overhaul the Lifeline program under the tagline “Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Consumers.” The November changes to the Lifeline Program were mainly cutbacks; reducing available subsidies, as well as limiting eligible participants and carriers.

Fact Sheet on FCC's Draft 2018 Broadband Deployment Report

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has circulated a draft 2018 Broadband Deployment Report to his colleagues and below are the key findings and additional information:

Innovators in Digital Inclusion: Connecting for Good

With a great amount of fanfare, Google picked Kansas City as its first Google Fiber city in July 2012. But the community’s commitment to full digital inclusion predates and runs much deeper than Google Fiber. Connecting for Good is one of Kansas City’s key digital inclusion partners. Michael Liimatta and Rick Deane knew each other through different community activities when, in 2011, they brainstormed the idea of Connecting for Good and found in it a mission they could share.

Put broadband first for rural Americans

[Commentary] The Federal Communications Commission estimated in 2017 that to deploy high-speed broadband to 98 percent of American homes, it would cost $40 billion. For 100 percent, the cost doubles. Which is why greater broadband infrastructure funding — both public and private — is urgently needed in remote areas, where the cost of connectivity infrastructure remains extreme.

Co-Chairs of Senate Broadband Caucus Urge President Trump to Include Dedicated Funding for Broadband Deployment

In a letter to President Donald Trump, Sens Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus King (I-ME), John Boozman (R-AR), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)—the co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus—call for the prioritization of direct funding support for broadband deployment in an infrastructure package that will help close the digital divide and ensure our country maintains its global competitiveness. Stand-alone funding for broadband will ensure that telecommunications infrastructure is advanced alongside needed upgrades to our roads, rail, bridges, ports and waterways

Reps Eshoo and McKinley Introduce ‘Dig Once’ Legislation to Reduce Cost of Expanding Broadband

Reps Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and David B. McKinley (R-WV) introduced the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2018. This commonsense legislation, commonly referred to as ‘Dig Once’, would mandate the inclusion of broadband conduit—plastic pipes which house fiber-optic communications cable—during the construction of any road receiving federal funding. This practice will eliminate the need to dig up recently-paved roads to expand broadband infrastructure, significantly reducing the cost of increasing Internet access to underserved communities across the country.

Washington’s next big tech battle: closing the country’s digital divide

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are forging ahead with new plans to boost high-speed internet around the country, hoping that their signature crusade — deregulation — might help spur better web access in the country’s hardest-to-reach rural areas. The bid to boost broadband is expected to become a small but critical component of infrastructure reform, a still-evolving proposal that could set aside $200 billion in federal funds to upgrade the guts of the United States — including aging roads, bridges and tunnels.