The pandemic highlighted many inequalities including the extent of the digital divide. Remote and rural communities, as well as urban poor in G7 nations, have found themselves distanced socially, economically, and educationally due to poor or non-existent broadband services.

According to the ITU, 3 billion people are offline. As many as 18 million Americans do not have access to high-speed internet. This includes remote farming communities, where it is not commercially viable to build out networks, and low income families in Manhattan who cannot afford internet service. Beyond the developed world, the numbers are more stark. UNICEF estimates that a third of the world’s school children – 463 million globally – were unable to access remote learning when Covid-19 closed schools.

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