42 Million Americans Can’t Purchase Internet Access – No Matter Their Income

1-in-4 Children Are Unable To Access School Online – That’s 16 Million K-12 Students


The Digital Divide Is Real . . .

The Digital Divide is the gap between those who have access to technology, the internet and digital literacy training and those who do not. Due to financial, geographic, or service limitations, it affects all generations – both rural and urban communities– as well as a wide variety of industries and sectors, but especially K-12 schools.

The Digital Divide is a significant challenge, but solutions exist to close the Divide and ultimately defeat it.

What is the
Digital Divide?

The Digital Divide is a problem that affects people from all walks of life, and all income levels. It is a complex challenge, but the main issue that defines this Divide is access to reliable high-speed internet. In some areas, internet access is either limited, unavailable, or unaffordable for those who could be equipped. This leaves countless students (and professionals) to rely on public computers or spotty satellite signals as their only tools in an increasingly digital world. It leaves many more, like those in rural areas or living under the poverty line, without even that.

Where Is the Digital Divide happening?

The Digital Divide exists in all 50 states . . . from pockets of urban underserved communities to remote and rural affluent areas, it is surprisingly widespread. In K-12 settings, the Digital Divide is commonly seen when students have limited or no internet access at home or even school. This causes a lot of problems for students as they can struggle with completing assignments and furthering their knowledge outside of classroom hours. This problem increased further since the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent many students home to learn virtually.

Why is defeating the Digital Divide important?

The Digital Divide has economic, educational, social and cultural implications. Especially in K-12 schools, where children deserve access. Education is an important foundation for the rest of our lives and by limiting the opportunities in early life, the playing field will never be truly even in higher education, the workplace, or our communities as a whole. Giving students the opportunity to work and learn remotely regardless of where they live is just one of the ways to help bridge the gap between competitive academic opportunities in urban and rural areas.

Digital spaces are a crucial part of modern communities and have become a foundation for social, professional, and academic networks. Excluding individuals from these spaces means widening the Digital Divide, while leaving out important perspectives and cultures. Students with little-to-no access to communications such as email, IM and mobile phones can affect their social interactions for years to come.

For School Superintendents and CTOs, the Digital Divide also allows bad actors to threaten and target schools and entire districts that aren’t secure – no matter where they are located – for cyber attacks. And Wi-Fi is largely considered a non-secure, or easily hackable, platform.

How can the Digital Divide be Defeated?

Today, school districts seek the most cost-effective and sustainable way to bring internet connectivity to their students, ensuring everyone has equal access, whether at home or school. Academic curriculums embrace technology as a fundamental tool - with the internet acting as the backbone - making it vital for every student to have access.

All students must be able to complete assignments, conduct research, interact with classmates and teachers, apply for scholarships, seek employment, and participate in everyday occurrences as simple as seeking the answer to a random question.

Defeat the Digital Divide’s mission is to bridge this gap by providing educational resources to bring connectivity to the communities that need it. Led by a collaboration of leading technology experts, STEP CG and Cradlepoint, and educators who combine their expertise and passion for helping kids learn to connect school districts to the resources and funding available to bring reliable internet service to their students.

Take the “Digital Divide Readiness Assessment”

We’ve built an interactive tool with the questions you need to be answering.

  • Do you have a plan to close the gap?
  • Are you aware of protected grants & funding?
  • How many students are unintentionally excluded?

Digital Divide Solved in Collinsville with Private LTE

The Digital Divide is real and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted how many communities and school districts have struggled with remote school and access to vital healthcare information that is largely unattainable for many poor and underserved areas.

More Resources

Asked Questions

How do we close the gap between those who have access to technology - and those who do not? We start with asking ourselves the harder questions - we have surveyed thousands of experts and educators to develop a playbook anyone can make a difference.

  • Q.Where should I start?

    Download our Digital Divide Checklist or use our interactive tool, Readiness Assessment, which guides you through a series of questions you need to answer before seeking funding or selecting a solution.

  • Q.What is the best solution?

    The first step in choosing a solution to bring secure and reliable connectivity to students outside of class is to understand where the gaps exist. Use the free online readiness assessment tool to find what solution will work best for your district.

  • Q.How will I find funding?

    After downloading and completing the Digital Divide Checklist, you should have a good idea of what solution will work best for your district - the next step is finding funding. Head over to the Funding Resources page to access vital information that can assist in obtaining proper funding - including who to contact, how to file for it, and how to use it.

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