March 7, 2021

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How faster Internet is being blocked by politics and poverty throughout the eastern U.S.

*Biden's broadband plan faces a serious test case in Appalachia's digital
divide, where a potent mix of extreme poverty, lack of infrastructure and
poor data present tremendous hurdles to the president's dream of closing the
broadband gap.*

For one public school teacher in Laurel County, Kentucky, proper education
means making a painful and difficult decision. While her home is connected
to AT&T's U-Verse Internet service, it's only fast enough to support one
person at a time. So in the midst of a pandemic-driven mandate for remote
learning, she often has to choose between teaching her students and ensuring
her own school-age kids are able to log on.

"We have really done a horrible job making sure they have the means," said
the teacher, who requested we withhold her name out of fear of losing her

One pandemic-driven solution in Kentucky has been to put mobile hotspots in
public school parking lots so kids without internet at home can keep up with
schoolwork, but that isn't without its own flaws.
"If they don't have gas money to come and get their child at the school
when they're sick, they're sure not going to have gas money to drive to the
school every day to download their assignments," she said.  [...]