As the country approaches the one year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic, much of the population continues to try and work, learn, and live via a virtual medium. What has become more apparent in the last year is how difficult it is for some Americans to do all this because of their lack of access to reliable and fast internet connections.
Imagine trying to do homework, attend a zoom meeting, or applying for a job because of a lack of internet access or the inability to pay for it. This struggle is not a new one, and neither is the federal government’s attempt to solve the problem.
Home internet access has been a struggle for millions of people, and before Covid, many were at least able to alleviate that issue by accessing it at work, school, or public libraries. In particular, low-income families and people of color are the most likely to lack access to home internet services. Now, those access points are very limited and there is a growing need for the Biden administration to address the limitations in order to help clear a path towards nationwide economic recovery.
Some initial attempts to fix the issue are already underway. Congress passed a bill in December that allocated $3.2 billion for emergency broadband programs that can provide up to $50 per month to subsidize internet services for low income families.
However, tech experts agree that long-term solutions are still needed if the U.S. is going to get back on track. The largest task for the current administration is looking at the rural and urban distribution of services and building infrastructure in areas where it is unavailable and needed the most. That, and affordability are the two tallest hurdles for policy makers to tackle in the coming year.