Commentary

Lack Of U.S. Broadband Access Threatens More Than Our Industry

  • by , Featured Contributor, April 29, 2021
This past weekend, President Biden reminded us that 35% of rural Americans lack reliable, high-speed Internet access at home, which is why building out broadband infrastructure is a high-profile part of his jobs plan.

But it’s not just rural folks who lack high-speed Internet. According to Pew Research, here’s who lacks broadband internet at home:

--       More than one-third of Americans over 65 years old

--      More than one-third of Hispanic Americans

--       40% of those with only a high school diploma

--       43% of households earning less than $31,000

--      54% of those with only some high school education

--       In total, over 82 million Americans.

We need to get out of our digital bubbles and care about this problem.

For all of us who care about the connected TV world, we need to recognize that none of those 80+ million people can be part of it. They represent a massive part of the consumer economy, but none of them can view streamed video ads for brands like Ford, Kraft, State Farm, Walmart and Pepsi that we’re always reading about in our ad trade publications.

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With distance learning and online research now a critical part of our primary and secondary education systems, aren’t we sentencing the children of those without high school degrees, the majority of whom live in homes without broadband access, to a self-perpetuating trap -- without the most important tools they need to be the first in their family to graduate high school, let alone even imagine going to college?

How can we bridge the divides of cultures and race that we have today when the media we each consume for hours and hours each day is becoming so different and so limited by broadband access? Two decades ago, those who were rich, poor, rural or urban, or college-educated or not, all watched the same TV shows, the same sporting events, and the same news on the same networks.

This didn’t solve the world’s problems, but it gave everyone some connection with each other. Now, we need to bridge this divide so that we can all have the same tools, and points of shared understanding and experience to help us solve the many challenges we face as a society and world.

I am very hopeful. We know well the power of the Internet. We need to make sure that all can participate in it.

5 comments about "Lack Of U.S. Broadband Access Threatens More Than Our Industry".
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  1. Neil Ascher from The Midas Exchange, April 29, 2021 at 5:08 p.m.

    So true Dave.

  2. Howard Shimmel from Janus Strategy and Insights, LLC, April 30, 2021 at 8:46 a.m.

    Well said Dave.

  3. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, April 30, 2021 at 8:57 a.m.

    Thanks Neil! Thanks Howard! My hope is that if our industry can recognize how much we will all gain with universal broadband access, more attention will be brought to fixing the issue.

  4. Jessica Hogue from Innovid, April 30, 2021 at 10:21 a.m.

    Well said and I agree. This became very real for me watching my kids home school during Covid and feeling incredibly blessed that we had the resources for them to continue to learn - a basic right. Any specific organizations you recommend to get involved in to help with advocacy? 

  5. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, May 1, 2021 at 8:52 p.m.

    Thanks Jessica, I totally agree. I will dig around about non-profits. For sure, lobbying to help the jobs bill would make a big difference. Thanks!

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