Broadband internet, defined as a download speed of 25mbps or higher, is a foundational resource for work, school, and life in North Carolina — and even more so today, as families and educators engage in remote learning efforts in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Physical broadband infrastructure problems are a challenge for rural parts of the state. However, the barriers to securing broadband internet for households are not limited to certain geographic areas — in fact, this is also a problem for those who live in urban areas. In addition to the challenges of accessing broadband internet infrastructure, North Carolinians grapple with additional barriers that include affordability, the perception of high-speed internet’s relevance to the lives of some, and digital literacy gaps. Together, these barriers all contribute to North Carolina’s relatively low broadband adoption rate of just 59.4 percent.
The Public School Forum has released a policy brief exploring this issue and potential solutions. In our October 2020 Education Insights, we break down the barriers to broadband internet access as well as the potential solutions to ensuring every child has the access they need to receive a sound basic education.