Viewpoint: COVID-19 Exposed the Digital Divide. Here’s How We Can Close It
By John Roese
In 2020, the world embraced digital transformation at an expedited pace, reimagining technology’s critical role in how we work, learn and live. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated a long-standing issue: billions of people remain without the universal human right of internet access.
Many rural and low-income communities around the world, including those in large urban areas, lack reliable, affordable access. More importantly, wireless technology is no longer just important for consumers and entertainment; it is rapidly becoming critical to how we connect everything in the digital world, from smart home systems to autonomous vehicles.
I’ve always believed that technology has the ability to do a tremendous amount of good and help humans thrive and achieve things that once seemed impossible. Technology is meant to be the great equalizer, not a source of division. Unfortunately, the gap between the haves and have nots is widening across the US and the world due to a lack of internet access for both people and an expanding pool of connected intelligent devices. Advancing the global good must start with ensuring everyone on Earth can go wireless and access the full capability of technology. Closing the digital divide is reliant on making 5G available to everyone, everywhere, in a modern and open way.