It’s been 19 months since the world turned upside down with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital divide was shoved into the spotlight. Today we’re at a crossroads — either we double down and holistically and sustainably invest in policies, programs, and tools to put the nation on a path to systemically address digital inequities, or we rely on the investments made in response to the pandemic.
Today, NDIA is thrilled to share our new policy priorities. The priorities urge Congress and the federal government to address the digital divide from multiple angles, resulting in all people in the United States having the tools to thrive in today’s digital world.
Our recommendations will come as no surprise to our affiliates and friends, in fact, many of them come directly from our affiliates as they are the boots on the ground, leading the work that makes closing the digital divide possible.
The policy priorities define recommendations in six key areas:
- Make Broadband Affordable for Everyone in the United States
- Fund and Support Community-Based Digital Inclusion Programs
- Fund and Invest in Progressive Digital Skills Pathways for Everyone in the United States
- Increase Access to Devices for Everyone in the United States
- The FCC Should Collect and Disseminate More Granular Broadband Adoption Data and Affordability Data Twice Annually
- Ensure Equitable Deployment of Broadband Services
As with everything in this ever-changing digital inclusion field, this document will change. Truth be told, we hope it becomes obsolete in a short period of time because that would mean Congress and the federal government adopted and implemented these recommendations.
However, as long as there is a digital divide, there will be more work to do, and we look forward to continuing to do that work with our community. To the extent that this document can be one piece of our country’s collective effort to close the digital divide, we are excited to provide it to our community as a resource and to policymakers as a guide.