The Digital Divide has been ill-defined and still leaves consumers confused about its meaning. Beyond the confusion about it’s definition, many consumers don’t realize there is a gap at all. The reality, as stated by the White House, 30 million Americans live where there is no broadband infrastructure with minimally acceptable speeds. Here, we provide a definition of the digital divide,
The Digital Divide defined
At it’s root, the “digital divide” is defined as the gap between those citizens that have reliable access to internet service versus those who do not. As explained in an HBR article, “While this is loosely understood as the gap between those who have access to reliable internet service and those who don’t, the true nature and extent of the divide is often under-appreciated.” Many argue the definition goes beyond “access to reliable internet” to include “modern information and communications technology (ICT).” This expanded definition also includes telephone, television and personal computers.
What does the Digital Divide mean to me?
If you live in a major metropolitan area or suburb, you might not need to care. Cable, satellite and telecommunications companies supply some kind of high-speed internet to your home, townhome, apartment, etc. This means, for example, your kids or grandchildren can attend school virtually if they need to. It also means that you might be able to enjoy the freedom of working from home. It also means that you can stream cable channels (ex. Hallmark, ESPN, etc.) and content (ex. DirecTV Stream, Disney+) at a fraction of the cost of cable or satellite television.
Unfortunately, mostly in rural areas, laggy and unstable internet connections make it difficult or impossible to participate in remote work or learning. Television options are limited to DirecTV or Dish (via satellite dishes). Streaming services like Netflix or YouTube TV might not work for them. The digital divide or digital inequity — they pay a lot more and get a lot less.
The pursuit of Digital Equity and bridging the Digital Divide
In order to bring digital equity for all, the US federal government has distributed $65 billions of dollars to the states including Colorado in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The goal is that 99% of people, no matter where they live, can fully and digitally participate in society, democracy, and the economy.
These funds are primarily being used to build fiber connections all across the country. Fiber can supply speeds from 120 MBPS (megabits per second) to 10 GBPS (gigabits per second) but it is not cheap to build. Millions of miles of fiber will be laid across the US in the coming years in order to ensure that everyone can participate in the extraordinary efficiencies of our connected world. From saving money on Internet and TV to lowering water and energy usage, fiber everywhere should improve society. This Law also promises to create millions of jobs annually.
How StreamWise Solutions helps bridge the Digital Divide
Since the spring of 2021, StreamWise Solutions has been working with NextLight, Longmont’s Gig Internet provider and 2nd fastest internet service provider in the country. Together, we help customers save hundreds to thousands of dollars per year on Internet, Whole-home TV and Whole-home Wi-Fi. The citizens of Longmont have the added benefit of saving money on connected home technologies like smart thermostats, smart sprinklers, and wireless security cameras.
Helping Seniors understand and enjoy connected living
Unfortunately, many Seniors are being left behind because new technologies are scary and confusing. Worse, giant cable and satellite companies overcharge and intimidate seniors into believing there are no better alternatives. The COVID-19 pandemic only increased senior’s feeling of isolation and being disconnected from society. Streaming TV, online Zoom meetings with family and friends, and many other circumstances were difficult for most seniors.
Younger generations have taken to Cutting-the-Cord to stay connected and regain their freedom and savings from giant cable & satellite companies. Since the second quarter of 2021, the number of people unsubscribing from cable and satellite services exceeded new subscriptions. In 2021, more than 8 million people Cut-the-Cord from their old expensive cable and satellite bundle.
Personalized solutions to bridge the Digital Divide for all demographics
StreamWise Solutions helps bridge the Digital Divide through personalized whole-home TV and Wi-Fi solutions. Customers trust us to:
- Recommend the fastest, most-reliable and cost-effective internet for their location.
- Install a reliable wi-fi 6 mesh network that eliminates the excessive costs of renting modems, routers, gateways and ineffective wi-fi gadgets. It results in paying less per month and getting better whole home wifi.
- Personalize a TV solution that covers the content and channels that everyone in the home wants to watch, resulting in saving an average of $120/month.
- Provide local, live training and support!