The coronavirus pandemic has shined a spotlight on equity issues in communications policy. As policymakers turn their attention to digital equity, they can build upon community-driven digital equity initiatives that have been developed in the past decade. These initiatives offer the cornerstone of a Digital New Deal that aims to ensure that digital tools foster democratic values and participation. Numerous cities and communities are seeking to shape the fit of broadband into their civic infrastructures. In this context, federally imposed restraints on communities must change to allow local governments to shape their broadband futures. Integrating broadband into civic infrastructure calls for planning and financing across levels of government, as well as coordination with the private sector in order to ensure that digital tools are available and affordable to address community needs. Supporting the role of broadband in civic infrastructure can turn the stimulus generated by the coronavirus crisis into an enduring force to address digital equity.
- Broadband as Civic Infrastructure: Community Empowerment, Equity, and a Digital New Deal