Improving Home Connectivity
The following provides options and solutions for those stuck in the Digital Divide
Coronavirus has changed how Americans work and learn—but for millions of families, that change means being unable to access the critical resources they need to weather these unusual times.
Even before COVID-19 forced the closure of schools, it was estimated that approximately 12 million school-aged children did not have adequate internet access at home to do their school assignments. It was so prevalent that a term was coined for it: the Homework Gap.
Previously, many of these students could use the library or local businesses to access the internet and complete their homework assignments. The same goes for their parents who could use WiFi at these locations to apply for jobs, access health records, buy less expensive goods online, and more.
But as you know—most, if not all, of those locations are now closed to the public. So, what can families who fall into the gap that we call the Digital Divide do?
Connected Nation staff has been working to compile resources and solutions for those who need it the most. This is our list so far, and we will continue to add to and update this regularly in response to the needs of families, communities, and leaders across the country:
Providers Pledge to “Keep Americans Connected”
More than 650 providers have signed the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected” pledge, which includes pledging to open Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them, and was recently extended through June 30. Your local provider may have open Wi-Fi hotspots. Please call to verify. Click here for a complete list of providers that have signed the pledge.
In addition, the FCC has a page that highlights providers going above and beyond the pledge at no extra cost to customers You can find it here: https://www.fcc.gov/service-providers-pledge-consumer-support-during-pandemic
The Keep Americans Connected Campaign was extended to June 30 and includes the following promises from providers:
- Not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic
- Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic
- Open their Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them. Chairman Pai is now asking providers to extend these offerings to consumers and small businesses until the end of June. Earlier this week, the Chairman held calls with providers representing the vast majority of broadband and telephone subscribers in the United States as well as trade associations to relay this request.