Digital redlining denies as many city residents access to the internet as it does rural Americans in some states, an advocacy group says.
Patchwork broadband service in urban centers often goes overlooked, given the pervasive lack of access in many rural counties, but affects “virtually equal numbers of people” in states like Ohio, said one digital equity advocate.
Bill Callahan, who runs a Cleveland-based nonprofit working to expand low-income broadband access and serves as policy director for the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, made the observation during a digital equity panel Monday at Next Century Cities’ Regional Broadband Summit in Pittsburgh.
In Cleveland, the high cost of broadband and poverty in some neighborhoods are just as likely to prevent residents from connecting to the internet as they are in rural America. Internet costing upward of $65 a month “might as well be on Mars for some people,” Callahan said.