High speed broadband access is now more than ever a fundamental need for remote learning and tele-working, video streaming, entertainment and video conferencing, especially with multiple users in the same household. The digital equity gap is further compounded by unacceptable upload and download speeds, as broadband speeds are now needed to thrive in remote work and remote learning situations.
The digital divide between households that ‘have’ and ‘don’t have’ adequate bandwidth creates an ‘education divide’, an ‘economic divide’ and an ‘equal opportunity divide’. It is prevalent not only in rural areas but also in densely populated metropolitan areas in older residential buildings and Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs). More than 88% of existing residential buildings cannot easily be wired with fiber to the door, and the existing technology cannot deliver very high-speed broadband over the existing building wiring.
A high-speed internet connection is no longer a luxury. According to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), digital equity is necessary for full civic and cultural participation and is just as important as running water and electricity.
A robust broadband internet service is required for people to fully take part in our economy, in our education system, and to gain access to essential services. Unfortunately, today’s digital divide means that there is a growing gap between those with access to both high-speed internet and digital literacy training, and those without. It is an essential need to help people develop the digital skills that will enable them to fully participate and thrive in society.