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How to Close the Digital Divide in the US

Date: 
07/20/2021
Author: 
Bhaskar Chakravorti, Harvard Business Review
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The U.S. government is negotiating a plan to address one of the most important — but overlooked — problems facing the country: the digital divide. While this problem is often talked about as a simple problem of access to broadband internet service, it is deeper and more complex than mere infrastructure. In truth, the digital divide also is a problem of inclusivity, institutions, and individual proficiency, and a solution needs to address all four dimensions. Policymakers should: 1) pay for improvements using a “Romer” tax levied on digital ads, 2) coordinate locally appropriate solutions, 3) recruit Big Tech and major internet service providers to help close gaps, 4) invite public-private solutions, 5) update and expand existing affordability programs, 6) build in future-proofing, and 7) invest in digital literacy.

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