Tech Policy

Joint Center Hosts ‘Expanding Broadband in the Black Rural South’ Webinar

On July 28, the Joint Center hosted a webinar highlighting the challenges and solutions to expanding broadband in the Black Rural South and featuring findings from our forthcoming report, Affordability & Availability: Expanding Broadband in the Black Rural South.

Moderated by: Dr. Dominique Harrison, Technology Policy Director, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Panelists include:

  • Congressman James E. Clyburn, U.S. House Majority Whip (D-SC 6th District)
  • Mignon Clyburn, First Chairwoman & Former Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
  • Francella Ochillo, Executive Director, Next Century Cities
  • Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, Federal Communications Commission

Lack of access to broadband is a problem in both metropolitan and rural areas, but efforts to close the digital divide often overlook the “Black Rural South” — 152 rural counties with populations that are 35 percent Black or higher in the southern region of the United States. In the Black Rural South, 38 percent of African Americans do not have access to home internet. This is driven by a lack of availability and affordability of broadband services.

As the bipartisan infrastructure bill continues to take shape, how can we ensure that high-speed, quality broadband is affordable and available in the Black Rural South? What specific measures are needed to connect more low-income families across the U.S.?

This conversation explored the potential for broadband to increase opportunities in the Black Rural South and policy recommendations to expand home internet in the region.

Watch it below.