Revisiting the Digital Divide in the COVID‐19 Era

Lai, John; Widmar, Nicole O
Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy

The digital divide limits opportunities for those without ready access to Internet. Movement online of essential activities during COVID‐19 took inadequate Internet service from inconvenient to emergency/crisis for many households. A negative correlation between rurality and Internet speed was found at the county level, highlighting the struggle for rural areas. Schools tackle challenges of providing equitable educational access by attempting to provide access for students, while even households with service available struggle to maintain sufficient speeds and/or can afford it. Essential activities moved online, yet sufficient Internet is an essential public service that remains unattainable for many US households.