Letters to the Editor May 29, 2022: Reliable Internet Access | Letters

Reliable internet access

Although I graduated from high school this year, I still vividly remember being kicked out of school in March 2020 when the pandemic hit Virginia. As my classmates and I struggled with virtual learning, I was grateful to have reliable and fast internet service.

It was absolutely essential to pass my first year. In fact, the Pew Research Center found that 53% of Americans said the internet was essential during COVID-19.

However, I recognize that not all students were so lucky. The Federal Communications Commission estimates that at least 6% of Americans do not have reliable broadband service and 25% of rural residents do not have access.

The pandemic has exposed deep inequalities in student access to technology that enables virtual learning. Low-income children in particular faced barriers, with 29% having to do homework on cellphones, 22% using public Wi-Fi and 21% unable to complete homework, according to Pew.

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With President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, Virginia will see billions of dollars invested in bringing fast, reliable, and inexpensive internet service to more people — not as a luxury but as a basic necessity to life. digital age. As a community, there are many ways to support others who need internet access.

We can support lawmakers, such as Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7e, and the Senses. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who each voted for the infrastructure bill.

The US Department of Commerce has launched a billion dollar “Internet for All” initiative. We can appeal to national and local authorities to apply for grants and develop infrastructure that will bring services to underserved areas.

Finally, we can patronize companies that are participating in government efforts to make Internet service cheaper, faster, and more reliable.

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