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Digital Divide Existed Before COVID-19, But Now It's At 'Crisis' Level

Flickr / Turkletom

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021

This show originally aired 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.”

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)

Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.