All Communities Deserve the Benefits of Connectivity: The Ball is in Congress’ Court
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear how important access to high-speed internet is everyone in America. However, it has also exposed significant gaps and barriers to affordable and reliable connectivity that persist across the country. For low-income, disadvantaged, rural, and historically underserved or overlooked communities like the LGBTQ+ community, demands for digital infrastructure and internet service cannot be separated from calls for greater equity, justice, and opportunity. Our community and others deserve a fair shot at benefiting from everything the internet has to offer.
Unfortunately, an estimated 18 million people in the U.S. lack broadband internet service according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). What’s more, the Pew Research Center estimates that this figure includes at least one-fifth of rural Americans and 40 percent of those making less than $30,000 annually. LGBTQ+ individuals in particular depend on internet service to access invaluable health, educational, and community resources – increasingly important during this extended period of social distancing and isolation.
Fortunately, there is growing bipartisan support in Congress as well as a renewed effort at the FCC to invest in expanding America’s broadband networks. This could not come at a better time, as many schools are holding part or all their fall classes online.