As shelter-in-place orders in many states require Americans to work, learn, and play at home, the coronavirus pandemic is highlighting the lack of high-speed broadband across the nation. Now, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are focusing on closing the digital divide, reported the Wall Street Journal.
“Having affordable broadband—it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (R-PA). “Broadband infrastructure has to be one of the key elements to that, and this pandemic has brought that right to the forefront.”
Before the pandemic, the issue of accelerating access to home broadband had been put on hold in Congress for several years, reported the WSJ. Reasons for the stall include the high cost to expand infrastructure in rural and remote areas and the lack of agreement on funding sources.
According to the account, the FCC is set to release a new report, claiming “the number of Americans lacking access to high-speed broadband declined by more than 14 percent in 2018.” However, some advocates question those statistics, saying government numbers overestimate how many people have broadband access. Another challenge is that many Americans who have access to broadband can’t afford it, according to survey data.