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FCC Understands the Problem of Digital Equity… And Does Something About It!

April 1, 2016

In one of the most heartening developments in the social justice sphere, the NYTimes reports that the Federal Communications Commission yesterday approved a substantial set of subsidies to provide low income families with access to broadband. In making broadband a de facto utility, Tom Wheeler, the Chair of the FCC, declared that the $9.25 monthly subsidy means that “Americans can access the dominant communications platform of the day”, which, in turn, means that tens of thousands of children in poverty will be able to have the same access to information as their more affluent peers. The reality of the digital divide was described in the Times article:

Today, one in five people do not have access to broadband at home, and the vast majority of those disconnected are poor. Only about 40 percent of people earning less than $25,000 a year can afford broadband while 95 percent of all households making over $150,000 have high-speed Internet at home, the F.C.C. said.

And while some see broadband access as a needless waste of government money, most realize that intros day and age not having the ability to use the internet is an obstacle to economic and educational success… especially given that “…seven out of 10 schools assign homework require Internet access and most jobs are posted online (with) applications for employment are increasingly becoming online-only.”

These actions help many children in poverty, but not all children who are being raised in poverty since thousands of rural poor children live in areas where broadband is NOT available. Here’s hoping that problem is addressed with some kind of WP initiative launched by our next President with the full support of Congress.

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