Broadband access Digital Divide

The Legislative Obstacle to High-Speed, Affordable Broadband in Our Communities

North Carolina and twenty-one other states block or legally prevent local communities–towns, cities, and counties–from setting up their own internet service. The result–according to BroadbandNow, a website that allows consumers to find and compare internet service providers (ISPs) in their area–is often inadequate, costly, and low-speed internet service, particularly in rural and less densely populated areas. There are signs, however, that this may be changing. Since 2019, Arkansas, California, and Connecticut have joined the ranks of those states that allow municipality-based ISPs. More recently, as a result of the pandemic, legislators are beginning to see that there is a cost to the digital divide in their districts: families struggle to support their children’s digital needs for remote instruction, area businesses cannot take advantage of online opportunities, telemedicine fails to reach those most in need. To learn more about these barriers to locally developed and owned ISPs, visit PCmag UK. To read BroadbandNow’s full 2020 Municipal Broadband Report, please visit BroadandNow.

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