Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans do not have proper access to the Internet? (Wait! That number seems small.) Let’s do the math: 20% of 325.7 million people = 65,140,000 Americans.
While it may seem unimportant to have good internet access everywhere (didn’t we all survive without it 25 years ago? Shouldn’t we be cherishing the moments without it?), it is hindering those who don’t have it, and hurting the American economy. Students’ grades are being affected, job opportunities (i.e. telecommuting, online interviews) are being taken away. Time is spent traveling to urban areas for access, being away from home, or waiting on slow Internet speeds. As society continues to grow alongside technological advancement, we are leaving rural and impoverished areas behind.
What are some factors that play a part in Internet Exclusivity?
Having Internet access is a luxury. And while there may be affordable Internet access, that doesn’t mean it’s high-speed (less than 3Mbps – sometimes 4Mbps is sluggish).
ISP providers such as Comcast and AT&T claim that it is very expensive to build infrastructure and lay cable in those areas needing Internet access. While this may be true, they are also doing everything in their power to keep more affordable competition away from these areas in case they’d like to set up camp one day. Sound like a conspiracy? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean it’s unlikely.
Want to learn more?
If you’d like to hear more in-depth facts and personal stories about this issue, listen: http://blogs.wgbh.org/innovation-hub/2018/5/18/dissecting-americas-digital-divide/
This blog post was inspired (heavily) by this podcast. Thanks, Innovation Hub!