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Schools are Closed

But Learning Needs to Continue

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The Digital Divide is Growing

But We Can Make a Difference

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Be the Change

Help Bring In-Home Connectivity to All

We can close the connectivity gap during this pandemic.

The Problem

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities in our public education system. Schools are closed and learning has shifted to online and at-home.

However, according to the FCC, 12 million students lack home internet access and 35% of low-income U.S. households with school-age children do not have internet access or a dependable device at home. This is a basic need for students to continue their studies this school year and into the summer. At a time in our country where there is an abundance of high quality, free learning materials that can be accessed anytime and anywhere, it feels particularly egregious that the students who need these tools the most do not benefit.

Percent of U.S. students age 3-18 with no Internet Access

0%
White
0%
Black
0%
Hispanic
0%
Asian
0%
Pacific Islander
0%
American Indian/Alaska Native

Source: National Center for Education Statistics from 2017

Current Activity and Information

Click your state to see the latest data and activity.

Are you working to tackle the connectivity gap in your state or community?
Click here to tell us how and have your work be featured here.

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 226,000 people do not have wired access and 475,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 60,000 people do not have wired access and 148,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 385,000 people do not have wired access and 755,000 people do not have wired access of at least mbps, the speed needed to stream video. 
  • Elevate Ed Az estimates that 100,000 students need computers and 200,000 students lack access to reliable internet in Arizona.

Click to download

Arizona Digital Divide Fact Sheet from the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation

Click to view

Learn more about the digital divide in Arizona and how to help every student get connected

Click to play

Learn about how the digital divide is impacting students in Arizona

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 214,000 people do not have wired access and 530,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 889,000 people do not have wired access and 1.3 million people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 173,000 people do not have wired access and 387,000 people do not have wired access of at least mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
  • In the 20 counties in and around Denver, 20-40% of people are estimated to not have connectivity at home.
  • The Colorado Department of Education surveyed their school districts and estimated that there are 54,585 students without access to Wi-Fi enabled devices and 64,355 students without access to the internet at home.

Click to download

Learn about the needs of students in Colorado in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including connectivity

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 7,000 people do not have wired access and 32,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 11,000 people do not have wired access and 26,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 3,000 people do not have wired access and 6,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 280,000 people do not have wired access and 464,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 286,000 people do not have wired access and 484,000 people do not have wired access of at least mbps, the speed needed to stream video.

Click to view

Hear a conversation with the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and school superintendents on how they are tackling the digital divide and online learning

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 22,000 people do not have wired access and 44,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 107,000 people do not have wired access and 307,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 334,000 people do not have wired access and 727,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 265,000 people do not have wired access and 666,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 100,000 people do not have wired access and 302,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 173,000 people do not have wired access and 307,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
  • According to a June 2020 report from Common Sense Media, 156,518 students lack adequate high-speed connection (31%), and 109,578 lack devices (22%) in Kansas.

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 142,000 people do not have wired access and 257,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.  
  • The Kentucky Department of Education estimates that approximately 10-15% of Kentucky’s students do not have internet access at home.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 262,000 people do not have wired access and 404,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
  • In a COVID-19 survey for the Louisiana Department of Education, 35 parishes reported that more than 50% of their students do not have home internet access. Thirty-three parishes and city districts reported higher percentages.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 12,000 people do not have wired access and 35,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
  • The Department of Education estimates that 23,805 K-12 students need a device, internet, or both in order to participate in online, remote learning opportunities but sadly they believe this number is even higher due to hard to reach populations. 
  • In fact, according to a June 2020 report from Common Sense Media the number of students with connectivity needs is indeed higher. 48,936 students lack adequate high-speed connection (27%), and 35,788 lack devices (20%) in Maine.

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 130,000 people do not have wired access and 201,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 64,000 people do not have wired access and 147,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 360,000 people do not have wired access and 809,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 125,000 people do not have wired access and 440,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 258,000 people do not have wired access and 368,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.  
  • CSPIRE has estimated that between 10-15% of students do not have access to the internet.

Click to download

Mississippi Economic Council letter to Senator Wicker on Broadband Connectivity

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 352,000 people do not have wired access and 780,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
  • According to the Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion 70% of children in the Kansas City School District do not have Internet access in the home. 
  • “Currently, Kansas City has 46.7% of our students who are actually engaged in turning in assignments, in online instruction, which means that close to 53.3% are not regularly participating in online school.” – Marla Sheppard, Deputy Superintendent of the Kansas City Missouri Public Schools.
  • The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education has conducted a COVID-19 survey and determined from districts that 23% or 195,000 students lack reliable internet access.

Click to download

See the digital divide’s impact on Missouri students from an Internet Connectivity Survey conducted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 36,000 people do not have wired access and 203,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 74,000 people do not have wired access and 217,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 95,000 people do not have wired access and 193,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 10,000 people do not have wired access and 27,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video. 
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 46,000 people do not have wired access and 77,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 122,000 people do not have wired access and 342,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 112,000 people do not have wired access and 307,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 118,000 people do not have wired access and 394,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 15,000 people do not have wired access and 33,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 217,000 people do not have wired access and 618,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
  • “More than 40 percent of families in CMSD schools (Cleveland Metropolitan School District) lack reliable access to internet services and 68 percent have cell phones as the sole device to access the internet. It will cost $40 million to build the infrastructure for all students in CMSD to have internet access.” – Eric Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 339,000 people do not have wired access and 635,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 94,000 people do not have wired access and 301,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 162,000 people do not have wired access and 598,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 11,000 people do not have wired access and 16,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 171,000 people do not have wired access and 344,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 23,000 people do not have wired access and 84,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.  
  • The Sioux Falls School District has provided all students with a Chromebook or iPad, yet approximately 20% of students have not logged on.

Click to download

Broadband in South Dakota May 2019 Report

Click to view

Governor Kristi Noem’s Letter of Commitment to Expanding Broadband

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 274,000 people do not have wired access and 492,000 people do not have wired access of at least mbps, the speed needed to stream video. 

Click to download

Learn about how the digital divide is impacting students in Tennessee

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 1.2 million people do not have wired access and 2.1 million people do not have wired access of at least mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
  • The Greater Houston Partnership surveyed 56 districts and charter networks in their region and found that 201,496 students did not have access to a computer and over 58,307 students did not have access to cellular service.
  • School districts in the Houston region have requested approximately 100,000 mobile hotspots.
  • It is estimated that it will cost $2.3 million to connect 220,000 students to the internet.
  • According to a June 2020 report from Common Sense Media, 1,828,917 students lack adequate high-speed connection (34%), and 1,339,459 lack devices (25%) in Texas.

0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 45,000  people do not have wired access and 108,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 7,000 people do not have wired access and 25,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 306,000 people do not have wired access and 697,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
  • Commonwealth Connect is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s comprehensive effort to achieve universal broadband access, a goal set by Governor Ralph Northam in July 2018. The program has determined that 600,000 Virginians are still unconnected. If you or someone you know needs help with connectivity in Virginia fill out their survey here.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 103,000 people do not have wired access and 338,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 101,000 people do not have wired access and 403,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 173,000 people do not have wired access and 592,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.
0%
of people can’t purchase reasonably priced internet access (under $60/month)
0%
of people don’t have access to fast enough internet for school & work (25 mbps or faster)
  • Broadband Now estimates that 48,000 people do not have wired access and 111,000 people do not have wired access of at least 25 mbps, the speed needed to stream video.

The Solution

Solutions can look different across the country. In urban areas, physical fiber infrastructure and cell towers exist but some residents cannot pay for personal Wi-Fi hotspots and subscriptions to access it. In rural areas, the infrastructure for wired or wireless connectivity is unreliable or nonexistent. States and districts have begun implementing piecemeal fixes to local connectivity challenges, but more need to be done to address the problem nationwide.

Tactics in service to a national campaign:

  • 35% of low-income US households with school-age children do not have internet access at home.
  • A Microsoft/4-H Study indicated that 1 in 6 rural teens do not have access to broadband internet.
  • “Since my first day as Chairman of the FCC, my number one priority has been closing the digital divide and bringing the benefits of the Internet age to all Americans.” – FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
  • More than four-in-ten don’t have home broadband services (44%) or a traditional computer (46%). By comparison, each of these technologies is nearly ubiquitous among adults in households earning $100,000 or more a year.” In addition, one-in-four teens in households with an annual income under $30,000 lack access to a computer at home (Pew Research Center 2018).
  • Collect state-specific stories and data in a core set of target states identified by the US Chamber Foundation and the National PTA illustrating the need for immediate investment in connectivity.
  • Create in-state “road shows” of leaders and experts who can participate in webinars and phone calls with PTA’s and Chambers in the state to build awareness around the solutions.
  • Build coalitions of state-based advocates who are willing to rally support for closing the connectivity gap.
  • Customized, state-specific collateral for distribution digitally.
  • Author and promote op-eds and interviews with Chambers, PTAs, and other state leaders to build support and buy-in that a solution is possible.
  • Outreach to the White House – both the Office of the First Lady and the Office of Public Liaison – to express a sense of urgency around needs that students, teachers, and families share.
  • Outreach to key national education organizations to add their voice to the campaign.
  • National campaign webinar with leading experts to build awareness on the set of solutions being proposed to close the digital divide.

Mission & Partners

We are working independently and collectively to raise awareness, educate, and most importantly create a sense of urgency around one of the biggest challenges families of over 12 million students face: the inability to participate in distance learning.

Tell Your Story

The Federal Communications Commission estimates that more than 21 million people in the US don't have a broadband connection with download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (the minimum speed designated by the FCC to allow for basic work and school activities).

Are you and your family, or people in your community currently struggling with school activities due to a lack of internet connection? You’re not alone. Please tell us your story. 

Are you an advocate working to tackle connectivity in your community or state? Share your work here or email info@everystudentconnected.org if you have artifacts or attachments to share. Together we can help show our leaders that basic broadband internet is integral to our national education needs and should be a right, not a privilege.

What People Are Saying

“I have 30 students in my homeroom class and only 11 have a cellphone. We have many students who are new to the country. They don’t have access to a computer outside of school or the public library.”

Polo-Thorpe
7th Grade English Teacher, New Jersey

“My parents live in north Fayette County. That’s not rural Georgia, but because they live on a street with just three houses and several acres, there’s no high-speed internet available to them. So you can see the divide by the haves and have nots, but also sometimes you might just be living in an area where it doesn’t make any financial sense for (a provider) to offer high-speed internet.”

Stephen Owens
Budget and Policy Institute Senior Policy Analyst, Georgia

“The closing of our library has had an immediate impact on low-income and marginalized members of our community. We have people parking along our perimeter for free wifi. Those who don’t have the ability to park like that, they have no recourse right now.”

Athena Lathos
Library Assistant, Oregon

"I’ve been saying for years (broadband access) is as important as power and water, and I wasn’t even thinking about an emergency like this. You have one-fifth of the state (Alabama) population that doesn’t have access. You’re essentially leaving out one-fifth of the state."

Clay Scofield
Alabama State Senator

Join the Movement

Do you support ending the connectivity gap? Use these tweets to raise awareness for #EveryStudentConnected on twitter!

Over 12 million students and families lack reliable internet access and cannot participate in at-home learning. The @USCCFoundation and @NationalPTA want to close this gap. Visit everystudentconnected.org to check out how and tell your story! #EveryStudentConnected

Are you and your family currently struggling with online learning due to a lack of connectivity? You are not alone. Tell us your story at everystudentconnected.org and help @USCCFoundation and @NationalPTA create awareness and close the digital divide #EveryStudentConnected