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How to Close the Digital Divide in the U.S.

Bhaskar Chakravorti shares key findings from new research from Digital Planet, which analyzes digital inequalities across the 50 U.S. states, in Harvard Business Review.

The U.S. government is negotiating a plan to address one of the most important — but overlooked — problems facing the country: the digital divide. While this problem is often talked about as a simple problem of access to broadband internet service, it is deeper and more complex than mere infrastructure. In truth, the digital divide also is a problem of inclusivity, institutions, and individual proficiency, and a solution needs to address all four dimensions. Policymakers should: 1) pay for improvements using a “Romer” tax levied on digital ads, 2) coordinate locally appropriate solutions, 3) recruit Big Tech and major internet service providers to help close gaps, 4) invite public-private solutions, 5) update and expand existing affordability programs, 6) build in future-proofing, and 7) invest in digital literacy.

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