The Digital Divide: Affordable Internet for All Makes Slow but Sure Progress

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There is no denying the fact that the COVID-19 crisis has brought practically unprecedented changes to most of the world. Small to medium-sized businesses that rely on physical establishments struggle the most to stay afloat, while homeowners all over the world are forced to get everything they need from online services. With everyone having to adopt a more introverted lifestyle, businesses are trying to shift most of their processes online.

A bigger problem than most realize

That said, there is still a digital divide — people who have no access to the Internet, who end up suffering the most as businesses scramble to provide online services. Many have the option to work from home to try to keep food on the table, but not everyone has access to the Internet to get the job done. Not only are those homeowners forced to risk the pandemic each day by going out to get the necessities they need but when businesses are forced to close down, the lack of Internet options prove to be a much bigger issue than most might think. Those who have constant access to the Internet often do not realize how crucial it is to everyday life.

Not a luxury, but a necessity

It goes to show that in a world affected by the pandemic, the Internet is not considered a luxury, but is a necessity for most homeowners to get what they need. It does not have to be said that Internet access is a critical lifeline, as it is one of the few methods of getting the basic necessities everyone needs.

Similar to how every other business is making sweeping changes to ensure that the company survives the state of the economy, those in charge of broadband strategies are making changes to try to help those without regular access to the Internet. Considering that the connection online is critical for both work and the ability to buy basic necessities, national broadband strategies are trying to lower prices overall.

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Progress in the digital divide

Fortunately, there have been strides made in the realm of broadband connectivity and price points — specifically in the Latin America, Carribean, Asia Pacific, and Africa regions. The use of national broadband strategies are helping move things along, but it is still slow-going in some regions. Access to the Internet is now considered to be as important as having access to electricity, water, and food, as the Internet provides access to the rest of the world, and offers the opportunities needed to thrive.

Of the regions stated above, Africa is the slowest to make progress when it comes to providing adequate broadband connections to the people. While the current situation of broadband affordability is much improved compared to 2015, there is a need to expedite affordability, as most people have to rely on the Internet to make ends meet — especially with the ongoing pandemic forcing many to stay home.