Is your life affected by the digital divide? Rural communities are one of the groups most affected by this phenomenon, but new technologies and awareness of the issues is helping to close the gap slowly. In fact, providing internet access to people who live in rural communities is a big step for leveling the playing field, with the power to transform education, income, communications, healthcare and other basics of life.

What is the digital divide?

Even as technology continues to become more affordable and internet access expands across the nation, studies have shown that more than 34 million Americans lack an affordable and reliable broadband connection. Of these, 19.4 million live in rural areas. The digital divide means they are unable to take advantage of economic, health and educational opportunities that exist in other connected communities.

A study done by Stanford University defines the digital divide as the growing gap between underprivileged members of society, especially the poor, rural, elderly, and handicapped without access to computers or the internet; and wealthy, middle-class, and young Americans living in urban and suburban areas who do have access.

In a press release from the FCC, Chairman William Kennard said, “In a society where increasingly we are defined by access to information and what we earn is what we learn, if you don’t have access to technology, you’re going to be left in the digital dark ages. That’s what the digital divide is all about.”

What do I need to avoid the digital divide?

Most expert agree that working our way as a nation toward universal internet access is one of the most powerful ways to close the digital divide – something we here at Softcom passionately agree with.

While computers have been more easily accessible and affordable, for many households in rural areas across the nation high-speed internet access remains either unavailable or cost-prohibitive. While large service providers have overlooked rural and underdeveloped areas for providing internet services, it’s smaller companies committed to serving their communities no matter where they are located or how remote the area that will make the difference.

In fact, rectifying the digital divide, according to President Bill Clinton, “is the greatest opportunity the U.S. has ever had to lift its people out of poverty and ignorance.”

As technologies emerge and progress, we’re committed to updating and adapting our network to meet our communities demands for higher speeds and better connectivity. We are continually reinvesting back into the company so that we can deliver the best quality service and help our customers successfully bridge the digital divide between rural communities and urban areas for high-speed internet access.