Manage episode 312502238 series 3236831
The Internet has long been used for entertainment and shopping, but the pandemic has heightened its importance in our lives making broadband internet access an essential utility like water, gas, and electricity. While the world has made a massive shift toward virtual moving work, school and even grocery shopping home there are still many people who can’t easily get online regularly. This is commonly referred to this as the “digital divide.”
Even as fiber continues to be installed and speeds continue to increase from megabits per second to gigabit rates for many – there are still people who must go to a certain place or wait for a certain time to be online, or who will never have the opportunity to do so.
According to research from a Pew Research Center study1, there are an estimated 9.7 million students who don’t have reliable high-speed internet and many people who do have access to broadband are choosing not to subscribe. This could be for a myriad of reasons including high costs, lack of urgency and fear of getting online.
The U.S. government has been actively looking for solutions to the digital divide. Last year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) who are poised to spend to spend $20 billion over the next ten years working to close the rural digital divide. Similarly, the 5G Fund for Rural America may spend another $9 billion working on solving the issue as well. As solutions roll out one thing continues to be abundantly clear, 5G can and will play a large part in bridging this gap.
Clearly there are a ton of moving parts to the digital divide including the role that Congress and the FCC play, its effect on both rural and urban areas, the prominence of this divide before and after the pandemic and how 5G will play a big role and closing the digital divide.
Listen now to understand why the digital divide exists, who is affected by it, and the role 5G and rural broadband play in solving this long-standing national crisis.
Networks TechTalk podcast was previously named Recalibrate with Samsung Networks.