Founded in 2017, Connect Americans Now (CAN) is a coalition of more than 250 organizations and companies representing voices for agriculture, health care, education, small business, technology, veterans, rural advocacy and more — committed to completely and swiftly eliminating the digital divide in America by supporting a mixed-technology approach that leverages the full potential of every tool in the nation’s toolkit.
CAN advocates for solutions in three key areas to bridge the digital divide, including:
There has been commendable progress in these areas, specifically solutions in Washington that have advanced to clear regulatory burdens to innovation, maximize spectrum resources, improve data and expand connectivity.
In February 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to clear regulatory barriers to TV white space (TVWS) technology — a wireless solution particularly well adapted to broadband deployments in rural areas. The swift adoption of updated rules to clear regulatory barriers to TVWS is essential to increasing the pace, scale and cost-effectiveness of broadband deployments in rural areas.
In March 2020, Congress overwhelmingly passed, and President Trump signed into law, the bipartisan Broadband DATA Act to fix the nation’s mapping of the digital divide.
CAN is proud to have supported these two positive steps and others. But much more must be done to completely eliminate the digital divide.
In particular, Congress must act to tackle this urgent problem and completely eliminate the digital divide in America, including by allocating resources for broadband deployments that will most rapidly and most cost-effectively bridge the broadband gap.
Watch our video below to learn how a mixed-technology broadband deployment, including TVWS, helped the entire community of Garrett County, MD:
Bridging the digital divide will finally give rural Americans access to necessary technology in healthcare, education, agriculture, small businesses, and more.
The most cost-effective approach to closing the digital divide in rural America involves a combination of “wired” and “wireless” technologies, including fiber-based technologies and terrestrial and satellite fixed and mobile wireless technologies, leveraging a range of frequencies including TV white spaces (TVWS).
Innovative solutions like TVWS have the ability to substantially reduce the cost of bridging the digital divide as part of hybrid network deployments — increasing the pace and cost-effectiveness of action to close the broadband gap.
TV white spaces are unused spectrum in the UHF television bands. This powerful bandwidth in the 700 MHz frequency range enables wireless signals to travel over hills and through buildings and trees. These unique characteristics make the technology particularly well-suited to areas with low population densities and critical to an all-of-the-above, mixed-technology approach to expanding rural broadband connectivity.