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OPLIN 4Cast #747: As the pandemic drags on, only now are steps being taken to narrow the digital divide

Posted in 4cast, and digital divide

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a lot of things over its course, but perhaps one of the most noticeable points of attention is the digital divide. Those without adequate (or any) broadband internet are at a severe disadvantage when everything has moved to the online environment. It’s been slow going, but lawmakers and telcoms are finally beginning to take notice. Even the FCC is allowing you to step up and help.

  • New York caps the cost of broadband for low-income families [Engadget] “ISPs must provide at least 25 Mbps download speeds or their current low-income internet speeds if those are greater. In centers like New York City where speeds tend to be faster, the bill caps the price of high-speed broadband over 200 Mbps at $20 per month. “
  • Washington State Votes To Kill Law That Restricted Community Broadband [Tech Dirt] “Frustrated by high prices, lack of competition, spotty coverage, and terrible customer service, some 750 US towns and cities have explored some kind of community broadband option. And while the telecom industry routinely likes to insist these efforts always end in disaster, that’s never actually been true.”
  • The Digital Divide is Real. AT&T Commits $2 Billion To Bridge the Broadband Connectivity Gap [Dallas Innovates] “AT&T also plans to build on its Access from AT&T program, which offers affordable internet services for $10 or less a month for qualifying households. Hundreds of Americans already use the program, which comes with free in-home Wi-Fi and no contract or installation fees, according to a statement. AT&T plans to expand this program by partnering with government policymakers to make sure funding is available to keep these options affordable.”
  • Want to help close the digital divide? Use the FCC Speed Test app [Mashable] “When you open the app, you’ll see how fast your download and upload speeds are, as well as other metrics that reflect the speed and strength of your internet connection for both mobile and in-home networks. The FCC will also receive that (anonymized) information to help them compile accurate data about internet access in households across the country.”

From the Ohio Web Library: