Revitalizing our small and minority-owned businesses will similarly require ubiquitous connectivity. Since February 2020, there has been a 41% plunge
in Black business ownership. And while there are many factors that have led to this devastating reality, Black-owned businesses will need to digitize their companies in order to respond to a moment that is increasingly dependent on online services. And for the businesses that have survived, they need access to updated technology so they can remain pillars of Black neighborhoods across the nation.
Digital inequity has left vulnerable communities dependent on their data-limited mobile devices and parking lot Wi-Fi as the only methods for accessing distance learning, telework and telehealth services. During the pandemic, our youngest learners have been noticeably impacted. With a disproportionate lack of connectivity, Black students are, on average, falling 10.3 months
behind in their schoolwork, Latinx students are falling nearly 9.2 months behind and low-income students have the potential to fall behind by more than a year, according to a report from McKinsey and Company. Meanwhile, White students are falling six months behind on their school work. This is nothing short of a crisis.
Our shared future will, by necessity, be connected. If we do not adequately address all sides of the digital divide — equitable deployment of broadband infrastructure, affordable connectivity, digital readiness training and access to connected devices — we will undoubtedly fail the American people.
Now is the time to build an equitable broadband future for all.