There Are Far More Americans Without Broadband Access than Previously Thought
The United States grapples with a deep digital divide in which those who need broadband access the most—the poor in rural areas—are the least likely to be connected. But it’s been a challenge for advocates to understand the full scope of the problem nationally, and for local and regional governments to suss out where their most underserved constituents live. Part of the problem is what advocates have long argued is an undercount of the unconnected population by the U.S. agency charged with overseeing internet access.
According to a new report by the company Broadband Now, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission may have underestimated the number of Americans without access to high-speed internet by 20 million people. The researchers also found that those undercounts tended to be greater in states with a higher rural population, meaning the rural poor aren’t getting the funding they need to get connected.