Building A Bridge into the Future of Work
High-speed broadband is essential for getting work done. To fully participate in the current as well as future economy, huge swaths of the population will need to take a bridge across the digital divide.
The pandemic has made digital future an immediate reality. What’s long been considered this country’s most important infrastructure project—bringing 5G online and making sure it reaches presently underserved populations—is now more urgent than ever.
Digital inclusion means that everyone has access to affordable, secure, high-speed internet services and devices and understands the benefits of using the internet and online services.
According to analysis from the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development UNCTAD*, the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the uptake of digital solutions, tools, and services, however, it has also exposed the chasm between the connected and the unconnected. In the United States, the digital divide is quite stark.
Studies vary, but a few published just as the pandemic began early this year suggested that between 22 and 42 million Americans lack all access to the internet, be it cable, DSL, fiber, or wireless. The current pandemic has revealed the gulf between those who do and do not have quality internet access, and how connectivity is a basic human need like health, education, work, and income.
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund
Launched by the FCC, the $20 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bridge the digital divide in our communities, specifically by efficiently funding the deployment of broadband networks in rural America. Through a two-phase reverse auction mechanism, the FCC is directing these funds to be allocated over ten years to finance up to gigabit speed broadband networks in unserved rural areas, connecting millions of American homes and businesses to digital opportunity.
At this moment in time, leaders in broadband understand that getting rural broadband up and running is vital for getting the U.S. economy and our society going again.
Nokia Is Perfectly Poised to Help
Nokia is the leading provider in North America for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) solutions and also number one globally for next-generation passive optical networks (NG-PON). Nokia was the first to build 10 Gigabit networks in the U.S. The U.S. is also home to Nokia’s fiber and fixed wireless access R&D centers. The company is the go-to partner of choice for the leading service providers both in the U.S. and worldwide, bringing best practices and advanced features from around the world to rural service providers in the United States. Nokia’s recent network-building projects in Chattanooga, TN, Bristol, TN and Dalton, GA, to name a few, offer promising examples of the kinds of transformation that can happen when communities get empowered by getting more fully on line.
Nokia is committed to RDOF and Nokia not only sees the bridge across the digital divide as an essential effort, it’s uniquely prepared to start building it right now. For more information, visit Nokia.com/opentomore.
* The COVID-19 Crisis: Accentuating the Need to Bridge Digital Divides UNCTAD, April 2020