RS 1: Washington

In the New York Times article “Digital Divide Is Wider Than We Think, Study Says”, the author Steve Lohr’s main point can be shown by this quote from the sixth paragraph, “Over all, Microsoft concluded that 162.8 million people do not use the internet at broadband speeds, while the F.C.C. says broadband is not available to 24.7 million Americans.” Lohr throughout the article pushes the point to readers that the government is not saying the truth at all about how accessible broadband internet service is for the entire U.S. population. He specifically calls out the Federal Communications Commission, or F.C.C, with his example of Ferry County in Washington. He states how the only area is a small town within the county, Republic, Washington and how once you “go beyond the cluster of blocks in the small town, and the high-speed service drops off quickly.” Lohr goes on to use this example to show more discrepancies of the FCC’s data by stating, “In Ferry County, for example, Microsoft estimates that only 2 percent of people use broadband service, versus the 100 percent the federal government says have access to the service.” The reason behind why Lohr feels so passionate about bringing the lies of the federal government to light, is because “Accurate measurements on the reach of broadband matter because the government’s statistics are used to guide policy and channel federal funding for underserved areas.” Without these accurate measurements, Lohr believes that those underserved and low income areas of the US will remain in their current states, and not have the abilities to improve their lives. This digital divide goes beyond having access to technological advancements, as Lohr points out how “[there is a] strong correlation between joblessness and low rates of broadband use. The unemployment rate in Ferry County, for example, is 11 percent, more than twice the statewide   rate.” He goes on to add how students and business owners rely on the WiFi from local restaurants or public libraries in order to do their own work. All of these points inevitably come together to showcase how Lohr believes the federal government isn’t doing all that they can in order to give the same opportunities to everyone in the US to have the best lives possible, and that one main example of this is from how government agencies, such as the FCC, don’t accurately show the correct statistics regarding broadband reach, as shown by this quote “The issue with the current F.C.C. statistics, experts say, is that they rely on simplistic surveys of internet service providers that inherently overstate coverage. For example, if one business in an area has broadband service, then the entire area is typically considered to have broadband service available.”

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