Low-income

Don’t forget broadband after lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic happened and, in a breath, home internet went from desired option to life-sustaining necessity. If the shutdown is responsible for limiting the spread of the infectious respiratory disease that has killed more than 1,100 Pennsylvanians in a month, then the internet is why it isn’t more. And that is why the World Wide Web has to be wide enough to work for the whole world.  Broadband access needs to be viewed as a utility little different from water or electricity or gas. It needs to be as accessible as the sidewalks that connect us to our schools and jobs and banks.

Coronavirus for kids without internet: Quarantined worksheets, learning in parking lots

 In the Symmes Valley Local School District in Lawrence County, in southern Ohio, Superintendent Darrell Humphreys estimates that less than 15% of his 800 students have “good internet,” capable of streaming video. The rural district has Wi-Fi in its two-building campus, when it’s open. But within a 30-minute drive there is no McDonald’s or other fast-food place that has an internet hot spot. In fact, “a large part of the district doesn’t even have cellphone service,” Humphreys said. Instead, assignment packets, about 20 pages each, have been mailed to each student’s home.

Commissioner Rosenworcel Remarks at #Right2Connect Townhall

This crisis is exposing a hard truth about the state of the digital divide in urban America, rural America, and everything in between. Not everyone in this country is connected to modern communications. Not everyone in this country has access to broadband. And not everyone in this country has access to basic phone service. But here’s another truth: Everyone needs communications to have a fair shot at 21st century success. It was true before this crisis. But it’s even clearer now.

Commissioner Starks Remarks at MediaJustice #Right2Connect Town Hall

I have called for the FCC to enact a “connectivity stimulus” to see Americans through the coronavirus crisis and power our economy. While a lot of data are still coming in, early results have delivered a clear message: COVID-19 is disproportionately hitting densely populated urban areas and having a devastating impact on African Americans and other communities of color. On a personal note, I read a report this week that Black residents of Kansas City make up 50% of those testing positive for the coronavirus, while they are only 30% of the population.

Determinants of mobile broadband use in developing economies: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

Broadband is seen as a vector of economic growth and social development. In the developing world, mobile technologies are widely adopted and mobile broadband is progressively rolled-out with high expectations on its impact on the countries’ development. We highlight what the determinants of mobile broadband use are in four Sub-Saharan countries. Using micro-level data coming from household surveys over 5 years, from 2013 to 2017, we show that SIM card ownership and being part of an online social community has a strong positive impact on mobile broadband use.

AARP Requests FCC Action During COVID-19 Crisis

The pandemic has highlighted the pressing need for high quality fixed and mobile voice and broadband services that are affordable, reliable, and robust. In the near term, there are immediate measures that the Federal Communications Commission can take to provide relief to Americans at this critical time:

Rep Lawrence, Sens Stabenow and Peters Lead Bicameral Letter to Congressional Leadership on Broadband Access Amid Outbreak

The entire Democratic Michigan delegation urged Congressional Leadership to prioritize and provide funding for essential broadband programs to ensure all Americans, especially those most in need, have access to high-speed internet in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Congress considers priorities in the next COVID-19 relief package, the Members of Congress urged the inclusion of robust funding for the following provisions/programs to ensure Americans across the country have access to high-speed internet:

Social Distancing, Internet Access and Inequality

This paper measures the role of the diffusion of high-speed Internet on an individual's ability to self-isolate during a global pandemic. We use data that tracks 20 million mobile devices and their movements across physical locations, and whether the mobile devices leave their homes that day. We show that while income is correlated with differences in the ability to stay at home, the unequal diffusion of high-speed Internet in homes across regions drives much of this observed income effect. We examine compliance with state-level directives to avoid leaving your home.

What are ISPs Doing to Get More People Online at Home During the Pandemic?

"For social distancing to work, home-isolation has to be bearable for everyone." The Washington Post came to that conclusion on March 29, 16 days after President Trump declared the spread of COVID-19 a national emergency.

Berkeley: Leaving No Child Digitally Behind

Regarding Steven Davidoff Solomon’s “Berkeley Schools Leave Every Child Behind” (op-ed, April 3), Solomon should know that under federal law public schools (unlike his first daughter’s private school) cannot just plow ahead with a structure that excludes free access to any student, whatever the special need and without threat of serious legal challenges with financial consequences to the district and the district taxpayers.