High-speed internet, or broadband internet, once seen as a luxury service, is now understood to be a critical utility that brings equitable economic opportunity to many.
Broadband not only brings social connectivity, but can raise property values, increase job opportunities, boost education access and expand health outcomes through telehealth.  However, the difference in access between urban and rural America continues and was especially apparent once the pandemic set in.
This gap, known as the “digital divide,” is a gap rural America is all too familiar with. From 2017-2021, rural households in Idaho have seen smaller percentage increases in internet subscriptions (1.3% fewer) and computing devices (0.5% fewer) than urban households. With the pandemic highlighting this issue to a broader audience, lawmakers are working on closing this gap, increasing economic opportunities for rural households.