Latinos in Technology Innovation and Social Media (LATISM), strongly encourages the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move swiftly to expand the Lifeline program to support broadband Internet for low income families. This is why:
Today, 7 in 10 teachers assign homework that requires Internet access. Yet, one in three households do not subscribe to broadband services of any speed at home. A recent Pew Research study found that five million families with kids at home go without regular broadband access.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has succinctly referred to this overlap as the “homework gap” and emphasized that it is “the cruelest part of the digital divide.”
In a world dominated by science and technology, it is an absolute necessity for students to be equipped with the knowledge and digital skills in order to compete in a global economy.
Students who lack access to broadband technology at home will be greatly disadvantaged.
A recent study from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Family Online Institute and My College Options, revealed that nearly 50 percent of students say they have been unable to complete a homework assignment because they didn’t have access to the Internet or a computer.
We support Commissioner Rosenworcel’s effort to do more to help more kids access broadband after-school hours.
For decades, the Federal Government has helped millions of low income households afford access to basic communication. The FCC set up a program called “Lifeline” which provides phone subsidies to low income households. But, in today’s digital world, we need modern access to communication services –hence the program should be updated to include broadband.
Also, increasing WiFi availability would give students more opportunities to get online to do their homework. The power of broadband technology cannot be overstated and no population has more to gain than the low-income families and their children that lack access to broadband.
There is no question that bold steps are necessary in order to bridge the homework gap and give students a fair chance to compete in today’s digital global economy. We believe that expanding broadband access and making more WiFi available — for more students in more places — is a step in the right direction.