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Good morning, Paul!
With the internet at our fingertips, whether through a desktop computer or our mobile phones, we can access information on anything we want to know or need to know and a whole lot more. Today, those who are working from home can do so because of the internet. Our kids, who went to school at least part of the past year virtually, we’re able to do so because of the internet and on and on it goes.
And the internet is so available that we can tend to take it for granted, just hit the button and it’s there at the ready. And especially with broadband high-speed internet, we can watch movies, sporting events and other entertainment, as good as our televisions can deliver. But amazingly, some of us still don’t have the privilege of high-speed access and some even more unfortunate don’t have access at all. And think of the disadvantage that that creates for those who don’t have the access.
Who are we talking about? Well, according to Pew Research, here’s a breakdown of the 82 million Americans who lack broadband internet access at home: 35% of rural Americans don’t have access. More than one third of Americans over 65 years of age don’t have access. And 40% of those with a high school only diploma don’t have access. The unlevel playing field that this creates is extreme.
How can kids who don’t have high-speed access learn alongside others that do, how can people who need to work from home do so without high-speed access? How could an entrepreneur who wants to start a business online in some rural area do so without high-speed access?
The have nots simply end up having even less relative to those who have. Think of how the disparity drives further cultural and societal divides that we are trying so hard to address. So, when you are confronted with a choice to support the development of a broadband internet system in this country that provides equal access for all, we must do so if we want there to be equal opportunity for all.
I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.