The lack of access to broadband internet for millions of Americans has garnered greater attention in recent days as the nation works through the many challenges associated with the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
As school systems work through remote learning solutions to keep facilities closed, businesses consider and implement telework policies and seniors and patients look for telehealth options, the current situation has put the spotlight on the impact of the digital divide that leaves more than 17 million Americans in rural areas without access to broadband internet.
As noted by the American Farm Bureau Federation’s RJ Karney in a recent interview, “Broadband is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity for farmers, for ranchers, for rural communities. Rural Americans rely on broadband for distance learning, they rely on broadband for telemedicine… We’re seeing more and more schools begin to shutter their doors and relying on internet access to continue to teach the students. Unfortunately for rural students who do not have access, these are severe limitations for them to continue their education. “
A lack of connectivity can limit options and strain resources in a crisis situation, highlighting the importance of completely eliminating the digital divide for the nation going forward.
Here are the headlines being generated by the impact of the digital divide on the nation’s ability to respond to the Coronavirus challenge:
Axios: Coronavirus Exposes The Digital Divide’s Toll(3/12/20)
Benton Institute for Broadband & Society: Is U.S. Broadband Up To The Response To The Coronavirus?(3/13/20)
Farm Bureau: Coronavirus Emphasizes Challenges For Rural Communities(3/12/20)
Law360: FCC Leaders Say Coronavirus Highlights Broadband Needs
The Hill: Coronavirus Outbreak Shining An Even Brighter Light On Internet Disparities In Rural America (3/22/20)
Here are the headlines on the impact of the digital divide on students and schools at this time:
ABC News: Rural Communities’ Digital Deserts Cripple Tele-Education During Coronavirus Outbreak (3/24/20)
Axios: Virus-Driven Shift To Online Classes Brings Home The Digital Divide (3/8/20)
Bloomberg: U.S. Schools Trying To Teach Online Highlight A Digital Divide (3/26/20)
Fortune: As Coronavirus Closes Schools And Pushes Classes Online, It’s ‘Exposing Hard Truths About The Digital Divide,’ FCC Commissioner Says (3/10/20)
Politico Pro: Coronavirus Quarantines Could Rob Poor, Rural Students Of Access To Education (3/5/20)
The Verge: As COVID-19 Pushes Classes Online, Some Students Are Caught In The Broadband Gap (3/6/20)
Here are the headlines about the digital divide and telehealth in light of the situation:
Associated Press: As Coronavirus Spreads, Medicare Gets Telemedicine Option (3/6/20)
Governing: Digital Divide Could Heighten Risk For Quarantined Seniors (3/10/20)
Multichannel News: Coronavirus Bill Lifts Some Restrictions On Telehealth(3/6/20)
Here are the headlines about the digital divide and telework:
Harvard Business Review: Coronavirus Is Widening The Corporate Digital Divide (3/26/20)
Fortune: Coronavirus Is Bringing All Sorts Of Societal Issues To The Surface (3/10/20)
Popular Science: Here’s How Much Internet Bandwidth You Actually Need To Work From Home (3/12/20)
Time: Americans Are Being Encouraged To Work From Home During The Coronavirus Outbreak. For Millions, That’s Impossible (3/9/20)
Connect Americans Now (CAN) is a coalition representing a wide-array of more than 250 rural advocates, innovators, concerned organizations, educators, businesses and local governments committed to eliminating the digital divide in rural America.