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COVID-19 Exposes Inequalities in U.S. Digital Divide

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Research from M-Lab, an open source project which monitors global internet performance, has shown many counties across the United States are dealing with slow internet speeds or a lack of access to the internet entirely. In late March, most people in 62 percent of counties across the U.S. did not have the government’s minimum download speed for broadband internet. Specifically, M-Lab found that more than 50 percent of customers in 325 counties stopped getting internet download speeds that met the government definition of broadband between the last two weeks of February and the final two weeks of March. The FCC has stated that more than 21.3 million Americans are without internet access; however, Microsoft researchers have estimated the number at closer to 163 million without access. The drop in connectivity is affecting both rural and urban areas where many populations are already underserved by the medical system and have high rates of poverty.

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