With all the issues swirling around the world, our country, and inside my head, I am struggling to find the right words to share today. You’d think that writing my umpteenth commentary about Internet connectivity would be a breeze; but it isn’t.

Pandemic. Healthcare. Race relations. Political divisions. Poverty. Economy. Freedom of speech. Protecting the vulnerable. Honoring the past. Building a future. Listening to one another. Taking a stand for what is right... it is all a bit overwhelming. I might as well add faith in a higher power to the list and just call it a day!

###

Back to the topic of connectivity, specifically, Internet connectivity. Show me a well-informed, well-equipped, well-resourced, well-connected society, and I will show you a group that has a much better chance of tackling the long list of maladies listed in the previous paragraph.

For example, I can share these thoughts with you today because I have a digital connection to the world. I have a computer. I have access to the Internet. I have a website on which to share this post. You probably found this commentary via an email, tweet or LinkedIn article. It is empowering. It brings us together and allows us to share information and communicate with one another. That is the power of a digital connection. That is why we need everyone online. A single Internet connection can improve an individual life, but an entire nation of connected individuals will transform our society for the better.

Which is why we simply can no longer afford to disregard the fact that millions of Americans are lacking access to the Internet. We should not ignore it, nor should we act like it doesn’t exist. We can’t wish it away, nor should we just hope it will get better. It is time to acknowledge this challenge and to face it head-on. Doing so will equip our society to tackle the serious challenges facing our country today.

What is the next step? What can be done? The answer to those questions varies for each of us. At Funds For Learning, we have decided to support legislation that we think will make a difference and we are letting members of Congress hear from us. If you represent a school or library, you also can take this survey, the results of which will be made public next month. Whatever you choose to do, and no matter how big or small a step it may seem, please find a way to support Internet connectivity for all.

Further reading:
  • FCC Chairman Pai’s letter calling on Congress to help keep us connected (link)
  • Wicker, Walden Release Broadband Connectivity and Digital Equity Framework (link)
  • On Juneteenth, Recognize Broadband’s Role in Building a Just Society (link)
  • Broadband Access Is A Civil Right We Can’t Afford To Lose—But Many Can’t Afford To Have (link)
  • Free Expression, Harmful Speech and Censorship in a Digital World (link)