“President Biden has set a clear goal of ensuring all Americans have access to reliable, affordable, and high-speed internet to learn, work, and participate in the 21st century economy…the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total $65 billion to deploy broadband where it is needed across the country, including $2 billion directly for Tribal communities…These resources are helping close the digital divide and laying the groundwork for an internet revolution in Tribal communities and beyond.” —White House Press Release, December 22, 2021.
Democracy’s Digital DivideThere is an unprecedented amount of Federal funding to close the Digital Divide in the United States. Closing The Digital (binary—1’s and 0’s) Divide (the ‘served’ and ‘unserved') exemplifies American faith in participatory democracy and technology’s tendency to bring about social progress. In we will critically analyze these assumptions and develop knowledge and practices to help ensure that the promise of closing The Digital Divide is actualized with equity, access, and opportunities.
During the class we will learn the basic concepts of broadband development including the actual technologies being deployed, related policies, Federal funding programs, and community broadband models. Topics include connecting the public with broadband service; acknowledging the barriers for people even if internet access is free; the difficulties and opportunities for communities developing sufficient broadband connectivity; public engagement to educate/train individuals to increase their digital literacy skills; and the relationship between internet connectivity and participatory democracy.
Course Reference Numbers
Tuesdays 6 - 9pm