Tuesday | September 1, 2020

We must expand broadband access to provide more opportunities for South Carolinians

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted disparities that families across South Carolina have been facing for years, especially when it comes to high-speed internet.

Across our nation 18 million Americans lack basic broadband internet access, and experts agree that the actual number is higher.

South Carolina has been considered a “broadband desert” for some time with more than 500,000 people lacking reliable access to the internet – and I have been working with my colleagues in Washington and lawmakers here in the state to ensure that these concerns are being addressed.

It’s not about scrolling through Twitter or compulsively checking our email; rather, access has become necessary to make sure our kids can learn, our communities can receive health care and our small businesses can sell their goods online as their storefronts are shuttered.

Even our newspapers and public safety information during emergencies are digitized, and a lack of access to this vital information increases the vulnerability of residents during this pandemic and other natural disasters.

Many South Carolina families, businesses and underserved communities across our nation are feeling the burden of limited or no access to broadband.

Growing up in a poverty-stricken single-parent household, I am aware of the challenges that low-income families with children face, especially as it relates to dividing resources.

And while we work to bridge racial, economic and housing disparities, we must also prioritize bridging the digital divide.

Read the full article here: https://www.thestate.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article245391015.html

By:  Senator Tim Scott
Source: The State