How America's Digital Divide Adds Up: A Report on Connectivity

Health+Wealth of America April 2021 Conference

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business at Tufts’ Fletcher School, presented research showing that the digital divide has been increased by the pandemic, and that the divide often aligns with American economic and racial division. Can the Biden administration’s proposed infrastructure bill help? Bhaskar’s answer: “It’s both too ambitious, and not ambitious enough.” Not only does the U.S. have to modernize its existing infrastructure, but it also has to break down the systemic racism and economic inequality that is ingrained into American society. Half of the country doesn’t use the internet at broadband speeds because they can’t afford it, and children’s education is suffering as a result. He also described overwhelmingly Black counties, like in Tennessee, where most people don’t have broadband yet government communications regarding vaccine availability were made entirely online.