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EducationSuperHighway Turns Focus to Affordability Gap

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The nonprofit broadband advocacy group EducationSuperHighway, which has been focusing on closing the K-12 education connectivity gap, has expanded its vision with the launch of No Home Left Behind, a campaign to close the affordability gap.

The Biden Administration has allocated billions of dollars in broadband subsidies toward both the education and affordability gaps, while broadband operators have long had their own subsidy programs, like Comcast's Internet Essentials," targeted at closing the affordability gap.

But the group points out that despite that, 28 million households still lack high-speed broadband, 18 million of which it said have access to broadband, but can't afford it. Citing government subsidies, it said: "As few as 17% of Americans eligible for federal broadband affordability programs have enrolled due to awareness, trust, and enrollment barriers."

"[A]fter decades of public and private investment in broadband infrastructure, affordability is now the number one cause of the digital divide, despite the widespread availability of low-cost broadband options from internet service providers," the group said. That affordability gap, said the group, "is present in every state, and disproportionately impacts low-income, Black, and Latinx Americans."
 
The goal of the new campaign, according to the group, is: 1.) "Leverage data to identify unconnected households by expanding its national K-12 Bridge to Broadband initiative, and 2.) "launch broadband adoption and free apartment Wi-Fi programs to help low-income Americans overcome the obstacles to signing up for federal broadband programs and home broadband service."

Among the financial supporters of the effort are the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Walton Family Foundation, and theZoom Cares Fund.