March 23, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC — Today, Business Forward updated its 2020 report on “Our COVID-19 Broadband Economy,” which examines current broadband performance, whether further government regulation is necessary, and how to close the digital divide and homework gap.
The update details recent government efforts to bridge the digital divide, including increased funding for broadband and distance learning support. For example, the issue brief highlights the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which provides a temporary monthly discount of $50 for qualifying households to purchase internet access. The issue brief recommends Congress create a permanent broadband benefit, reform rural broadband programs to eliminate anti-competitive rules and better prioritize funding for unserved areas, and expand its approach to provide other pieces of the digital divide puzzle, including subsidized laptops, updated curriculum, more digital literacy training, and more teacher training.
“COVID-19 has taught us the true scale of our digital divide, but it’s also demonstrated how much we have to gain from closing it,” said Jim Doyle, president of Business Forward. “Our broadband networks performed well when the pandemic caused traffic to surge last Spring. As we accelerate our recovery, we must build on this foundation and make sure the benefits of connectivity are available to everyone. A comprehensive, coordinated, and long-term response will level the playing field for at risk students, prepare graduates for the future of work, and help small businesses compete and grow.”
ABOUT BUSINESS FORWARD
Business Forward helps hundreds of thousands of local business leaders make the “business case” for climate action, affordable healthcare, immigration reform, infrastructure investment, diversity and inclusion, sensible tax laws, and other pro-growth progressive reforms. These small business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives brief policymakers, work with local media, publish op-eds, submit testimony, advocate online, and organize their communities. We also promote their recommendations through issue briefs, survey reports, training manuals, and podcasts. More than 650 mayors, governors, members of Congress, and senior Administration officials have participated in our briefings.