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The New York Times has a story about a digital divide between urban and rural America, as well as a divide between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Microsoft about how serious this chasm is.

“A new study by Microsoft researchers,” the Times writes, “casts a light on the actual use of high-speed internet across the country, and the picture it presents is very different from the F.C.C. numbers … Over all, Microsoft concluded that 162.8 million people do not use the internet at broadband speeds, while the F.C.C. says broadband is not available to 24.7 million Americans. The discrepancy is particularly stark in rural areas.”

The Times goes on: “Fast internet service is crucial to the modern economy, and closing the digital divide is seen as a step toward shrinking the persistent gaps in economic opportunity, educational achievement and health outcomes in America. In some areas with spotty or no service, children do their homework in Wi-Fi-equipped buses or fast-food restaurants, small businesses drive to internet hot spots to send sales pitches and medical records are transported by hand on thumb-drive memory sticks.

“Accurate measurements on the reach of broadband matter because the government’s statistics are used to guide policy and channel federal funding for underserved areas.”

You can read the entire analysis here.
KC's View:
If we are really to be a country of equal opportunity, then we have to be land of equal access to this kind of digital infrastructure. In a 21st century global economy, that is as important as efficient airports, bridges that don’t fall down, and pothole free roads.