August 18, 2020
Fuel the Economic Recovery by Closing the Great Digital Divide
Robust U.S. broadband infrastructure has allowed many individuals to work remotely, learn remotely, and receive health care remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic — a necessity for preserving economic activity for both households and the nation as a whole. Despite this strength, the digital divide and hurdles to broadband availability persist, writes AAF President Douglas Holtz-Eakin in The Hill. Policymakers must pursue a mix of bold thinking and innovative policies to allow the economy to continue to operate in the presence of the virus, and these efforts must include policies to close the digital divide, he contends.
Key elements of the recession have been a sharp drop in the use of health services, inability to occupy workplaces, and the need to juggle the roles of worker, teacher, and parent. As Congress continues to negotiate the terms of the next aid package, it would do well to consider the importance of connectivity. Inaction risks a missed opportunity for strengthening economic resilience now, and for improving our ability to compete and innovate in the future.