Brad Smith Says “Shame on Us” If Nation Fails to Close Broadband Gap
In case you missed it, Microsoft President Brad Smith recently spoke with Yahoo! Finance to discuss the need for urgent action to close the broadband gap in America.
“One thing that COVID-19 did is caused us all to see something that was in front of our eyes to which we weren’t paying enough attention. And that’s the broadband divide,” Smith said. “That’s why we’ve been banging this drum for several years, saying, look, broadband is the electricity of the 21st century, and the people who don’t have it are basically living in the 1990s.”
“The good news, in my opinion, is we are awakened as a society,” Smith continued. “We’re seeing major commitments by the administration and Congress, including in the infrastructure bill, to take the kinds of steps that will be needed to close this gap.”
“We have the wherewithal as a country to solve this problem in the next four years,” said Smith. “I would almost say shame on us if we fail.”
The digital divide impacts communities in both urban and rural areas — denying millions of Americans access to digital technology that can be critical to success in the 21st century classroom and economy, enables access to innovative health care tools and much more.
“The reality is that the world’s becoming more and more digitized,” Vickie S. Robinson, General Manager of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, said during a Connect Americans Now webinar in August. “The pandemic has only accelerated that rate of digitization as everything went online… school and learning went online, telehealth went online, people are working online. All of this requires access to a reliable broadband internet connection.”
“We have to do more to ensure that everyone has access to, not only affordable broadband services, but also devices and skilling that are necessary to use those services in a meaningful way,” Robinson added. “This should be considered essential for 21st century infrastructure.”
Watch the full Yahoo! Finance interview with Microsoft President Brad Smith HERE.
Read more about how the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act being considered in Congress would be a positive down payment on bridging the digital divide HERE.
Read more about the digital divide and solutions to permanently close the broadband gap HERE.