Universal Broadband: The Time Has Come

Ray Schroeder, Inside Higher Ed

In the weeks of COVID-19 isolation, the disparity of access to the internet has become more obvious as school-age children and adult learners have been deprived access to education and livelihoods. After we emerge from the pandemic, the internet will be even more prominent than before in education, business, government and social engagement. In isolation, we have built a deeper reliance upon the net and we will soon see an expansion of “work from home,” requiring a wider variety of network access for an increasing number of occupations. Katherine Guyot and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution predict, “In the post-pandemic world, it may stay with us as a popular practice that, if done well, can improve job satisfaction, raise productivity, reduce emissions, and spread work to more remote regions.” In order to avoid further disenfranchising the rural and lower-income workers, it is critically important that we find a way to provide universal access to the massive education and work venue that the internet has become.

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