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Charlotte Talks: Digital Divide Existed Before COVID-19; Now It's At A 'Crisis' Level

Flickr / Turkletom

Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020

Many in Charlotte and across the country lived in the digital divide long before the pandemic. Now, it has become “a national crisis” as the school year begins.

School systems raced to get laptops and tablets into students’ hands, but that’s only half the battle. As many as 17 million students across the country lack adequate internet connection. In Charlotte, 45,000 homes are without broadband internet – largely in communities of color, resulting in a “digital redlining.”

Organizations locally and all the way up to Congress are trying to address the gap, but that hasn’t dimmed the growing worry about the impact of being a nation of technology haves and have-nots.


Pat Millen, E2D (Eliminate the Digital Divide), founder and president (@pat_millen)

Angela Siefer, National Digital Inclusion Alliance, executive director (@angelasiefer)

Sonja Gantt, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Foundation, executive director (@SonjaGantt)

A veteran of Charlotte radio news, Chris joined the "Charlotte Talks" staff in January 2016, but has been listening to WFAE since discovering the station as a high schooler.