Five ways companies are closing the global digital divide

Rapidly advancing technologies are further highlighting the global impact of the digital divide, which is the gap between those with reliable access to high-speed internet services and those without it. Here are five creative ways companies are trying to bridge the divide:

A feminist internet would be better for everyone

A vision of an internet free from harassment, hate, and misogyny might seem far-fetched, particularly if you’re a woman. But a small, growing group of activists believe the time has come to reimagine online spaces in a way that centers women’s needs rather than treating them as an afterthought. They aim to force tech companies to detoxify their platforms, once and for all and are spinning up brand-new spaces built on women-friendly principles from the start.

Digital Opportunities Compass

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which includes the Digital Equity Act of 2021 (DEA), establishes a broad framework and significant funding to advance broadband connectivity and digital equity. The law recognizes key factors and populations to address when striving for digital equity. To fully realize the full benefits of digital technology for individuals, communities, and society at large additional insights are needed. The Digital Opportunities Compass is an holistic framework for broadband and digital equity planning, implementation and evaluation.

Chicago Digital Equity Plan

Nearly 172,000 Chicago households (over 15%) don’t have internet at home, and nearly 92,000 (roughly 8%) don’t have any device, including a computer, laptop, tablet, or smart mobile device.

NTIA Launches Inquiry on how Data Practices Affect Civil Rights

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has announced a Request for Comment on how companies’ data practices may impose outsized harm on marginalized or underserved communities. The ways in which firms collect, share, and use data can exacerbate existing structural inequities. 

  • Online job ads may be targeted based on real or perceived demographic characteristics such as age, sex, or race – reaching certain groups while ignoring others,

How COVID-19 Impacted U.S. Residential Internet Perceptions

This study analyzes how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered individual perceptions of Internet service providers (ISPs) and Internet importance, reliability, and status as an essential public utility (EPU). The authors found that lower-income, younger, women and racial-ethnic minority participants had lower ISP and Internet reliability perceptions. The pandemic increased the perception of the Internet as an EPU by 15% and access to in-home Information and Communication Technology was significantly related to perceptions of Internet importance and reliability.

Biden-Harris Administration Awards More Than $4.9 Million to Idaho in ‘Internet for All’ Planning Grants

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is awarding Idaho its first “Internet for All” grants for deploying high-speed Internet networks and developing digital skills training programs under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative. Idaho is receiving $4,940,793.09 in funding to plan for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet throughout the state. Idaho will receive $4,376,087.09 to fund the following:

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at First Plenary Meeting of the International Telecommunication Union’s Conference

The United States is committed to making further progress on ensuring all our citizens are connected and improving both the level and the quality of telecommunications. We are working to ensure that every American has access to affordable high-speed internet, to invest in resilient infrastructure and more secure networks, and to use technology that aligns with our values.

Making History Together

Last week, I had the honor of hosting the Federal Communications Bar Association’s virtual Celebration—their first ever event headlined by a Chairwoman. For me, this was a big deal. Not only because it was an opportunity to have a laugh with colleagues, but as the first permanent female Chair of the FCC, having this event during Women’s History Month was an opportunity to highlight and mark the importance of women’s participation and representation across all of our work.

Rural online businesses expect a coming broadband boom

The $65 billion federal boost to expand broadband access in the US will be a boon to the women-run companies on platforms like Etsy and Airbnb, especially as they see an increase in rural businesses. Expanding high-speed internet access across the country will enable more women to participate in the online economy at a time when women