Bridging the Digital Divide for an Inclusive Future

The economic future of both urban and rural places depends on overcoming the digital divide. The pandemic has put into stark relief the ramifications of being on the wrong side of the divide. In particular, the strains on our public education systems, most of which have implemented some form of remote learning since March, may have impacts lasting a generation or longer. Besides its effects on education at all levels, digital exclusion (or marginalization) has impacted access to stimulus benefits; efforts to rapidly scale up telemedicine; work from home; and even basic tasks, such as banking, shopping online for necessities, and connecting with family and friends during a period of crisis. This panel will bring together experts to discuss the current state of the digital divide. They will highlight solutions for building broadband infrastructure where it’s needed, providing access to digital devices, and promoting digital literacy, which has become critical for gaining living-wage employment.

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