Bridging the Digital Divide
High-speed Internet access, or broadband, is critical to economic opportunity, job creation, education, and civic engagement. But there are too many parts of this country where broadband is unavailable. In urban areas, 97% of Americans have access to high-speed fixed service. In rural areas, that number falls to 65%. And on Tribal lands, barely 60% have access. All told, nearly 30 million Americans cannot reap the benefits of the digital age.
The FCC has moved aggressively to expand broadband across America. Initiatives include:
- seeking comment on several petitions requesting permission to use E-Rate program funds to support remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting a process to solve the Homework Gap by
- Expanding broadband accessibility and affordability during the COVID-19 pandemic by Initiating the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to enable eligible households to receive a discount on the cost of broadband service and certain connected devices.
- Launching the first phase of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which is set to disburse $9.2 billion over the next 10 years to expand broadband in unserved areas in 49 states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. This represents the biggest single step ever by the FCC toward closing the rural digital divide.
- Establishing the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, a new process for collecting fixed broadband data to improve mapping and better identify gaps in broadband coverage across the nation.
- Authorizing over $4.9 billion in support through the A-CAM program over the next decade for maintaining, improving, and expanding affordable rural broadband for 455,334 homes and businesses served by 171 rate-of-return carriers in 39 states and American Samoa, including 44,243 locations on Tribal lands.
- Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Approving $950 million in funding to improve, expand, and harden communications networks in
- Spearheading the Connect America Fund Phase II reverse auction, which allocated $1.488 billion to expand broadband to more than 700,000 rural locations in 45 states. Through this fund, the FCC also partnered with New York to provide up to $170 million to support rural broadband in combination with $220 million from the state.
- Launching the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee to provide advice and recommendations to the Commission on how to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access, including ways to reduce and remove regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment.
- Initiating rulemakings focused on speeding the deployment of both wireline and wireless networks.
- Streamlining rules to accelerate the transition to modern broadband networks
Reports & Data
- Rural Broadband Auctions
- National Broadband Map
- 2020 Broadband Deployment Report
- Internet Access Services Reports