DemLabs blog

Poor, rural communities of color suffer from a lack of internet access.

Children forced to do their homework outside fast food outlets where there is WiFi. Rural communities denied access to health information. All from lack of internet access. Large corporations donating millions to politicians to protect their internet monopolies. What's going on?

Which areas are suffering the most from lack of internet access? How does internet access predict your health and prosperity? Who's profiting from denying Americans internet access? What can be done? Affordable options for rural internet access?


"The coronavirus pandemic caught communities unprepared. One-third of all Americans worked from home in May and June, placing a strain on Internet connections all around the country. Schools were closed, forcing tens of millions of students, their families, and their teachers to come up with distance learning plans that maintained state standards and engaged students. Rural, low-income, Black, Indigenous, and households of color were hit the hardest.

Americans face connectivity obstacles that exacerbate economic, educational, and public health problems. Millions of families in urban and rural areas do not have home Internet access because it is not available or just not affordable. Tens of billions of tax dollars have been doled out to monopoly cable and telephone companies with the promise they would extend networks to connect more Americans." - ILSR

Mapping the two Americas

We decided to map which counties suffer the most from lack of internet access, rural areas and predominantly Black, Hispanic and American Indian communities to look for patterns. Could there be a connection?

Corporations and politicians they donate to deny rural America access to broadband internet access.

Corporations behaving badly

"In 2010, North Carolina ranked last in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) report on the relative number of residences with access to a “basic broadband” connection, largely because of the anemic upload speeds available from TWC. TWC, AT&T, and CenturyLink pursued a campaign to restrict competition ... and spent $1.1 million during the four-year effort on lobbyists and campaign contributions." - ILSR

Takeaway: Corporations profiting from denying basic affordable services to communities is wrong. Politicians who accept donations to help them protect their monopolies is worse. Let them know your thoughts and evaluate affordable solutions for rural internet access.


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DemLabs applies innovative technology and storytelling tools in service of democratic values. It lowers the barrier of funding for worthy candidates and non-profits by applying existing free/affordable solutions.