• Carlos Gutierrez, Dep. Director & General Counsel

Internet Access Must Be a Cornerstone of the Biden Technology Agenda in 2021

In just a few short months in 2020, daily life for all Americans underwent a profound transformation. Today, as a result, we live in a world dominated by digital classrooms, virtual workplaces, and virtual community events. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed existing tech and digital inequalities, and exacerbated struggles to connect already present for vulnerable populations. Our dependence on digital tools, services, and platforms, nonetheless, is only expected to grow in 2021, as communities and policymakers across the country plan for a post-COVID economy and society.

President-elect Biden has committed to supporting bold legislative action and making strategic investments in our nation’s digital infrastructure. This is an important goal that must remain a priority through his administration. That’s why the Biden Administration must make good on this and prioritize expanding high-speed internet access to hard-to-reach areas, which is particularly critical for modernizing telehealth services among other priorities.

For LGBTQ+ individuals, internet access serves an important purpose: connecting members of the LGBTQ+ community and creating shared experiences. Today, 80 percent of LGBTQ+ individuals use the internet for social networking, while 81 percent of LGBTQ+ youth use the internet to search for health information. Unfortunately, far too many LGBTQ+ individuals, people of color, and Americans in hard-to-reach areas lack access to high-speed internet and will not realize these or other essential benefits.

While the private sector continues to rapidl