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Digital Divide Exists in County with Students Not Having Online Learning Technology

April 13th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

There is a digital divide in Maryland, but there is also one in Allegany County, where local educators are facing up to a third of students not having the technology to do online distance learning.
WCBC was part of a Friday afternoon conference call with Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, who say there is money in the COVID-19 response package to address the issue. This is Senator Van Hollen…

7 Responses to “Digital Divide Exists in County with Students Not Having Online Learning Technology”

  1. April 13, 2020 at 7:25 am, Ken said:

    In the early 2000s, an FCC decision chose the direction of how broadband would be built across this country. In effect, that one decision made it so that private industry would be the primary force.

    At that time, the argument that broadband should be considered a public utility was based on the fact that for-profit companies would not extend broadband networks into areas which were not profitable.

    Almost two decades later, we find that rural communities have been left to inferior types of internet connectivity, assuming that any is available.

    Today, Americans a lot pay more for lower quality service than most of the other industrialized countries in the world.

    When this country opens back up, President Trump is asking for money to build infrastructure. I believe we should all support this and demand that internet connectivity be built out across this nation. This is exactly what we did with electricity and telephone all those years ago. In fact, building out those services to almost everyone in this country is what made us the industrial powerhouse we once were.


    • April 13, 2020 at 9:24 am, Jay said:

      I saw a statistic yesterday saying that there are 50 million public school students in the nation with about 12 million of those who do not have broadband access. Considering that we’re now going on 3 decades since the advent of the internet this stat is pretty shocking and unacceptable for a nation as wealthy as the U. S.


  2. April 13, 2020 at 11:21 am, Ken said:

    Jay, I agree. The problem is that for-profit businesses fight any competetive internet network being built because they see it as a threat to their business model.

    Municipal networks face incredible advertising blitzes when they try to get started, even though those that do get built have a far higher customer satisfaction ratings, faster speed at a lower price than for-profit offerings.

    Lest I heard, the Oldtown area has limited options and satellite internet isn’t what anyone would call quality broadband.


  3. April 13, 2020 at 11:36 am, Homeowner said:

    Is the school board using their cable access channel?


  4. April 13, 2020 at 12:06 pm, Jason said:

    I live in Oldtown, MD. We use our smartphones with an unlimited AT&T Data plan because we have no better internet. I’ve called Verizon 10+ times TRYING to get DSL and they won’t even consider hooking us up to their copper infrastructure. I called Atlantic Broadband and they have no plans to come this far east in the county. We’re crossing our fingers that a 5G rollout will happen in the next year or so.


    • April 13, 2020 at 4:47 pm, David said:

      > There is a guy trying to get wireless out in Oldtown Jason. He works for himself and is fighting to get his connection to the towers out there. If I learn more I would be happy to let you know!!


  5. April 13, 2020 at 2:37 pm, Ken said:

    Jason, DLS is only available within a mile or so of the local Central Office. And even at a mile, it’s not good.

    Cable companies work on a minimum rate of customers per wire mile. Oldtown will not meet their minimum customer per mile – so they aren’t ever coming, unless they get government incentive.

    As to 5G, I honestly don’t think that’s ever going to be an affordable alternative to what I see from Atlantic Broadband.

    Elon Mush is launching a satellite network to deliver broadband that might work for you but no estimated date for that yet.

    Still if you look up and see the old traditional telephone wires, many of them were put up when we decided to connect the country. We really need to tear down that copper and put fiber optics lines everywhere but this country doesn’t seem to have the stomach for modernization that our grandparents did.


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