Maybe you’ve seen kids during this pandemic who are struggling without the broadband access they need for remote learning. They’re unable to head to virtual classrooms and participate in online education. Even when in-person class is in session, they wrestle with nightly schoolwork that requires internet access. You may find them—in rural and urban communities—sitting in parking lots or other public spaces where the wireless signal is free just to connect and keep up with their education.
This is an especially cruel part of the digital divide, known as the Homework Gap. Recent estimates suggest it may affect as many as 17 million kids. It’s time to do something about it.
Today the FCC is kicking off an emergency effort to get more students connected for school. We’re releasing a Public Notice asking for input on petitions that have been filed with the agency seeking support from the E-Rate program to help close the Homework Gap. By collecting feedback like this, we are taking a step forward. But we won’t consider the job done until we have policies in place that can help every student get the connection they now need for class, no matter who they are, where they live, or where they go to school.
I invite your feedback on the questions asked in the Public Notice and your ideas about how we can help ensure no child is left offline.