Digital Divide

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

Biden-Harris Administration Approves Kentucky and Maine’s “Internet for All” Initial Proposal

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has approved Kentucky and Maine’s Initial Proposals for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, a cornerstone of the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Internet for All” initiative. This approval enables Kentucky and Maine to request access to funding and begin implementation of the BEAD program—a major step towards closing the digital divide and meeting the President’s goal of connecting everyone in America with affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service.  

ACP and Broadband Adoption Research

At a recent Senate Commerce Committee hearing, one of the witnesses produced a study (the EPIC study) that concluded that ACP led to inflation in broadband services. In addressing your question of which studies Congress should rely on, I think the EPIC study demonstrates the very problem you raise.

A Retired Veteran Returns to College

Sterling Williams Jr. was retired from the U.S. Airforce, bored, and looking for a fulfilling way to spend his time. His niece made a suggestion: going to college. Williams was intrigued but concerned about keeping a flexible schedule. Between picking his niece up from school and waiting for appointments at the Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic, the idea of commuting back and forth for classes seemed like a significant obstacle. Then he learned South Texas College would give him a laptop and hotspot to attend classes remotely.

Lack of broadband in homes of children attending school will make the problems in our educational system worse, not better

I am confident in opining that the lack of broadband in homes of children attending school will make the problems in our educational system worse, not better.  The fact that the problem of reading scores pre-dates the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) does not make it less of a problem.  Nor does it address the question of whether ACP can be helpful in addressing low reading scores, particularly as artificial intelligence develops personalized ways to assist young readers in overcoming specific decoding problems that serve as barriers to their learning to read. Again, I would urge Congr

Opinion: California must not backtrack on promise of broadband for all

In 2021, California did something truly remarkable and forward looking by approving historic legislation that allocated a record $6 billion to bring equitable and affordable high-speed broadband service to all its citizens. The multiyear investment aimed to close the digital divide by building the largest “middle-mile” and “last-mile” high-speed broadband internet project in the nation. However, with the state facing a record $44.9 billion budget deficit this year, Gov Gavin Newsom (D-CA) plans to cut $2 billion for the program he previously championed. California lawmakers must not backtra

What the End of ACP Could Mean for BEAD

Senate Commerce Committee  Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked New Street Research Policy Advisor and Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Blair Levin to clarify remarks Levin made about the negative impact the end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) will have on the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. Levin answered saying that BEAD does not fund the cost of deployment broadband to an unserved or underserved area; rather it funds the difference between the cost of deployment and what a provider would be willing to invest to serve that area.

The unique challenge of bringing broadband to rural America

Rural America disproportionately lacks access to high-speed broadband, an essential component of modern life. Though the issue—and many attempts to address it—go back much farther, the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act appropriated $42.5 billion for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to close the gap once and for all. In this episode, Tony Pipa visits Macon County, Alabama, and also talks with leaders from Jal, New Mexico, and Humboldt County, California to learn how they have overcome their challenges to bring broadband to their rural communities.

What Are ISPs Offering Consumers after ACP?

On May 31 as funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) expired, the White House highlighted the commitments of 14 internet service providers to offer plans at $30 or less to low-income households through 2024. These internet service providers (ISPs) collectively cover up to 10 million ACP households and are offering their current ACP subscribers and other eligible households a high-speed internet plan for $30 per month or less, with no fees and data caps, until the end of 2024. For each ISP, we are looking at what is being offered—and how easy it is for consumers to find the inf

Ten Things About ACP that Ted Cruz Cares About #6 ACP and Telemedicine

The record shows that Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) recipients regard using access to broadband as critical to their healthcare. A recent study found that 75% of ACP participants fear that losing access to ACP will result in losing access to healthcare. This is consistent with another large-scale survey found that 45% of adults believe that inadequate access to technology, including broadband and computers, is a barrier to telehealth, and this was especially prominent among rural residents and adults over the age of 65. That is, ACP

Internet access is not a luxury. Congress should extend connectivity aid program

More than 23 million households will lose affordable internet access as part of a pandemic-era federal program that provided low-income households with a credit of between $30 and $75 toward their monthly service bill.