There's been a lot of talk about the digital divide in America. But like so many crises before, once again Cleveland is at ground zero. Recent data released from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates among cities with over 100,000 residents, Cleveland is ranked as having the worst internet connectivity rate. That's right, we are dead last in the country.
This would be a serious issue in the best of times, but since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, internet connectivity is more important than ever. Educational and job opportunities are increasingly defined by internet accessibility. If our kids can't connect to reliable internet, they will find their educational horizons limited. And if our workers are cut off from the internet, they will be cut off from meaningful job opportunities.
There was a time when internet service was just a nice thing to have. Those days are over. Now, this service is as essential as trash pickup or snow removal. Cleveland has to build a digital bridge to every family in our city, and we must do it without delay.