Tackling the local digital divide
Detroit's digital divide could be narrowing through an influx of pandemic infrastructure spending and new programs for equitable and reliable Internet access.
Why it matters: Internet access has become a necessity, not a luxury, and many residents do not have reliable internet at home.
- School work, banking, job searches and mental health support are just some internet-supported aspects of everyday life.
Driving the news: State and federal leaders held a roundtable discussion yesterday at Cass Technical High School about strategies to close the digital gap.
What they're saying: "We're proud to step into this opportunity together – the greatest opportunity to expand access to the internet since the internet itself was invented," Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said at a press conference following the roundtable.
- "We will meet this moment by working together."
By the numbers: Nearly 70% of students did not have internet access at home before the pandemic.
- About 82,000 households have signed up for discounted Internet access through the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB) since last year.
The big picture: Recent federal and state infrastructure bills boosted spending to increase internet access.
- The White House recently announced new details about the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) that offers $30 monthly internet service for low-income households.
- Detroit households that qualified for the EBB will be automatically enrolled in ACP.
Zoom out: Reliable broadband service could also help address our food deserts, Axios' Joann Muller writes.
- While low-income neighborhoods often don't have great supermarkets, they do have access to prominent food delivery platforms.
- The mismatch between access broadband and food delivery services is most acute in urban areas like Detroit.
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