Why Do We Need the Digital Equity Act?
We need the digital equity act now more than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vast inequities the digital divide wrought across our nation.
According to the 2019 U.S. Census American Community Survey (source):
- 29.2% of households do not have wireline broadband such as cable, fiber optic or DSL.
- 35.6% of households with incomes below $20,000 are without an internet subscription.
- 22% of persons aged 65 and older do not have a computer or have a computer but no Internet.
From Pew Research Center’s 2021 Mobile Technology and Home Broadband Report (source):
“About a quarter of the population still does not have a broadband internet connection at home. And broadband non-adopters continue to cite financial constraints as one of the most important reasons why they forgo these services. Among non-broadband users, 45% say a reason why they do not have broadband at home is that the monthly cost of a home broadband subscription is too expensive”
“92% of adults in households earning $75,000 or more per year say they have broadband internet at home. But that share falls to 57% among those whose annual household income is below $30,000.”
In the U.S., programs addressing access to the internet have developed locally and been funded (minimally) locally. The Digital Equity Act will assist these local digital inclusion programs by creating two new federal grant programs. The gaps in access are detrimental to our country and the rapid changes in technology cause the gaps to continue growing. We need #DigitalEquityNow.
Elizabeth – Portland, Oregon
Elizabeth was unable to find work for months until she received access to technology with the help of MetroEast, allowing her to find work within two weeks.
Multiple People – Kansas City, MO
Visitors of the Kansas City Public Library share their technology needs and the impact the computer lab has on their lives.
Joseph – Charlotte, NC
After completing digital literacy classes through the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, Joseph was able to apply for a promotion, give his son a laptop and share his new digital knowledge with his family.