Joint Center Comments On Broadband In The Black Rural South
Recently, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission on ensuring that federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act broadband resources are equitably deployed in the Black Rural South.
The Joint Center’s comments explain that Black households in the Black Rural South are among the most unserved by broadband in the nation, and the federal infrastructure law represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix this problem.
However, southern state officials responsible for deploying federal broadband resources could exclude Black communities in the Black Rural South by prioritizing broadband deployment in areas populated by the bulk of the state officials’ political supporters. Even absent intentional exclusion, Black community leaders in the Black Rural South may be less able to participate in the state broadband planning process due to limited resources and a need to focus on other pressing problems like securing clean drinking water.
Absent concerted efforts by federal agencies, state governments, the private sector, and local leaders in the Black Rural South, southern state governments could deploy federal infrastructure resources in ways that expand racial disparities in broadband in the Black Rural South. This concern is not conjecture, as other laws such as the G.I. Bill increased racial disparities because Black communities were less able to take advantage of benefits.
Read the Joint Center’s full 22-page comments and proposed solutions https://jointcenter.org/the-joint-center-testifies-fcc-in-support-of-equitable-deployment-of-broadband-access-in-the-black-rural-south/
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