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The Broadband Gap

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This is one of the important points raised in an excellent article about how the shutdown affects people of different classes very differently:

In March, the federal government broadened its coverage of so-called telemedicine services through Medicare, giving many more people access to a doctor over the web.

Still, the technology that makes these services accessible remains out of reach for many Americans. While data on internet access is inexact, the most recent Federal Communications Commission figures, from 2017, showed that 30 percent of households did not have even a slow broadband connection.

Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the commission, said millions of Americans had only phones, often with strict caps on data usage. “Imagine using a mobile device to look up your class work, type out a paper,” she said. “No parent would choose that as the primary tool for their child’s learning.”

One thing educators need to keep in mind, as we transition to a period of remote learning that may well last until there’s a vaccine, is that we can’t count on our students having consistent access to broadband service.

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