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Axios' Ashley Gold (left) and Dreambox president and CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson. Photo: Axios

Broadband should be assessed as a household utility in order to improve access, DreamBox President and CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson said Thursday at an Axios virtual event on the future of broadband connectivity.

Why it matters: Broadband access has become essential as the coronavirus pandemic shifted work to home offices and classrooms became remote. Low-income households and communities that don't have reliable broadband access are at an increased risk of falling behind during the pandemic.

  • "Imagine if there were homes that didn't have electricity or heat — we would figure out policy solutions to that, and I think we have to start thinking about access to broadband almost like it was a utility."
  • DreamBox is an online education program focused on mathematics for K-8 students.

What they're saying... Woolley-Wilson argues those in need of broadband fall into two groups: those who can't afford it and those who don't live close to broadband towers.

  • "We need to have systematic, high-level federal, state and local policies to make sure that we bring broadband access. We build towers — literally — where there are no towers, or we provide a strategic approach to providing hotspots so that students can use them," Woolley-Wilson said.
  • "We've seen some creative solutions ... [but] we need scalable and permanent solutions," she said.
Axios' Dan Primack (left) and FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks. Photo: Axios

By the numbers: FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks said at the same Axios event that more than 77 million Americans lack adequate broadband in their home.

  • Starks added that 1 in 3 Black adults and more than 1 in 3 Latino adults don't have home broadband connections.

Watch the event.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 13, 2021 - Economy & Business

American Towers paying $9.4 billion for Telefónica assets

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American Towers agreed to buy the European and Latin American mobile phone towers businesses of Spain's Telefónica for $9.41 billion in cash.

Why it matters: This marks the first major foray by a U.S. tower operator into Europe, where Cellnex reigns supreme, and will help Telefónica eat into its €37 billion leverage load.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
33 mins ago - Technology

Doomsday Clock stays at 100 seconds to midnight

Robert Rosner, left, and Suzet McKinney reveal the 2021 setting of the Doomsday Clock. Photo: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists/Thomas Gaulkin

In its annual update on Wednesday morning, scientists announced the Doomsday Clock would be kept at 100 seconds to midnight.

Why it matters: The decision to keep the clock hands steady — tied for the closest it has ever been to midnight in the clock's 74-year history — reflects a picture of progress on climate change and politics undercut by growing threats from infectious disease and disruptive technologies.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.