Recent government action highlights potential progress in closing the digital divide by boosting access. On March 4, 2021, the Biden Administration received a bipartisan letter from four US Senators urging them to redefine and modernize the definition of high-speed broadband services across the internet. These Senators propose adopting a new national standard and plans to deploy symmetrical 100 mbps service across the US. Additionally, the FCC announced the creation of the Broadband Data Task Force in February this year.
Private enterprise is also working to close the digital divide. Many companies are donating and/or subsidizing equipment and services to underserved regions. In fact, some of the largest telecommunications companies in the US are making multi-year commitments to provide free equipment and services to vulnerable communities.
Looking beyond traditional connectivity and hardware-related needs, we expect many communities may require technology training and support to fully join the digital economy. We continue to monitor this space as we seek to identify those who can reduce this friction with training deliverables and close the digital divide to unlock the latent growth potential in these underserved communities.
Rob Zeuthen, senior portfolio manager on the BNY Mellon Small Mid Cap Equity team, and Ryan Delisle, research analyst on Mellon’s investigative research team.
Doc ID: 613200