ICYMI: New Study Highlights How Broadband Gap Undermines Digital Equity
Congress Must Advance Permanent Solutions to Bridge
Digital Divide to Ensure Every American Community Can Access 21st
Century Digital Tools
In case you missed it, a new report
from the Joint
Center for Political and Economic Studies shows a disproportionate number
of African Americans still lack access to broadband internet and highlights the
stark contrast in opportunities between those with and without broadband
According to the study:
the Black Rural South, 38% of African Americans report that they lack home
internet access. By comparison, 23% of White Americans in the Black Rural
South, 22% of African Americans nationwide, 22% of rural residents outside of
the South, and 18% of all Americans nationwide report that they lack home
broadband can help improve employment, incomes, education, and health care in
the Black Rural South. Currently, 49% of Black children in the Black Rural
South live in poverty compared to 18% of White children in the region and 19%
of all children nationwide. During the past 10 years, many states with Black
Rural South counties have experienced high rates of rural hospital closures.
households in the Black Rural South lack high-speed broadband because it is
either unavailable or they lack the financial means to purchase service.
According to FCC data, in the Black Rural South, 25.8% of residents lack the
option to subscribe to high-speed broadband (internet at speeds of 25/3 Mbps or
higher) compared to 8.8% of non-southern rural residents and 3.8% of all
where broadband is available in the Black Rural South, many find it
unaffordable. Pew estimates that U.S. households with incomes less than $35,000
are much less likely to have broadband, and they account for 28.6% of all
households nationwide but 60.8% of Black households in the Black Rural South.
Dominique Harrison, the author of the report, recently told
Reuters the new data is “important for all policymakers to see.” Harrison
added, “Before we can even consider affordability, Black residents are being
shut out of access at shocking rates, and countless more with high prices and
insufficient federal support.”
Congress should act to improve economic outcomes and advance
equity in our education and health care systems by swiftly advancing permanent
solutions to expand broadband access, adoption and digital skills.
Read about how the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and
Jobs Act will be a critical down payment toward closing the broadband gap and increasing
digital equity HERE.
Read more about the digital divide and solutions to
permanently close the broadband gap HERE.