The coronavirus outbreak has exposed just how wide the digital divide is in the United States. With more than 50 million students at home, many school districts are struggling in their transition to remote learning. Telehealth services are being expanded to help protect front line health workers and avoid patient overloads at hospitals. Hundreds of thousands of workers are being asked to telecommute and conduct business digitally.
As the nation addresses the pandemic and implements social distancing mandates, how has this online shift affected those without steady internet access? What short- and long-term strategies are being deployed to address disparities in digital access? What areas are most profoundly impacted by digital exclusion? How are the needs of rural Americans, whose communities are already deeply affected by weak broadband infrastructure, being addressed?
On April 8, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a webinar discussion on the growing digital divide and what federal agencies and local leaders are doing to identify and mitigate the challenges those without broadband access are facing.
View a recently released photo essay by Brookings scholar Nicol Turner Lee on the digital divide challenges facing a rural community in Maryland.