The digital divide must be closed at all costs
Learning Through COVID:The digital divide must be closed at all costs
In 2017, census data showed that Kentucky ranked 44th in the nation for broadband access. Nearly 25 percent of our households did not have a subscription for high-speed internet, and more than 15 percent did not have a computer, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Among households without home internet, one-third said it simply is too expensive. In some rural parts of the state, high-quality internet connections can be hard to find, whether or not you have the funds to pay for it. Throughout 2020, our survey work showed the urgent need for Kentucky to be better connected to internet infrastructure and for costs of connection to not be a barrier for low-income families.
In our family and teacher survey, 12% of families reported not having reliable access to the internet. And some 15% of teachers did not have adequate access or enough devices in their homes. In our student survey, poor students were disproportionately more likely to report having unreliable WiFi access (7.2% reported never having access) compared to their more affluent peers. Additionally, rural students were three times more likely to report never having access to reliable WiFi than students in metro areas (4.4% compared to 1.4%).