Education Super Highway Student on Mobile Device

The EducationSuperHighway has announced the No Home Left Offline campaign and released a report that says affordability, not access, is why 47 million Americans still are offline.

No Home Left Offline includes a broadband adoption program and a free apartment Wi-Fi program. It is aimed at areas where more than 25% of people don’t have connectivity. Among other things, the organization will partner with the city of Oakland, CA on both types of initiatives, including a broadband adoption center.

EducationSuperHighway may be best known to Telecompetitor readers as the organization that advocated for broadband connectivity for schools and produced an annual report on the status of those efforts for several years until connectivity goals were reached. The organization also instituted the K-12 Bridge to Broadband program that helped make broadband available to low-income households with school age children.

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The organization has raised $16 million to support efforts such as the No Home Left Offline initiative from donors that include Emerson Collective; Blue Meridian Partners; Ken Griffin, Citadel, and Citadel Securities; the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; Walton Family Foundation; and Zoom Cares Fund.

The new report from EducationSuperHighway argues that the digital divide persists in every state and predominantly impacts low-income, Black and Latinx Americans.

Insights from the report, which focuses on pocketbook issues, not technology:

  • There are 18.1 million unconnected households in which 46.9 million people live that have access to Internet service but cannot afford to connect to even low-cost broadband plans.
  • In 43 states, the broadband affordability gap is the largest portion of the digital divide, making up 58% of the digital divide in states with rural populations that exceed the national average.
  • Previous efforts to provide the resources that households need to connect have fallen short. As few as 17% of Americans eligible for federal broadband affordability programs have enrolled due to awareness, trust, and enrollment barriers.

“We must seize this moment to accelerate progress in closing the digital divide,” EducationSuperHighway CEO Evan Marwell said in a press release about No Home Left Offline. “That’s why today we are launching a bold new mission to tackle the broadband affordability gap – which has emerged as the number one barrier to closing the digital divide. Congress is stepping up, making resources available to close the affordability gap, and ISPs continue to increase the availability and speed of affordable broadband plans. We must now remove the barriers that keep low-income families from connecting or risk wasting this opportunity to ensure no home is left offline.”

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.

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