Reducing the Digital Divide with a Citywide Fiber Optic Network

The digital divide is alive and real in D.C: low-income residents are less likely to be connected to high-speed Internet than those with higher incomes. Various efforts are underway to address the disparity, and now the District government has joined the effort with a new high-speed, fiber optic network. The new network should eventually make it cheaper to subscribe to broadband, but as we’ve noted before, the high cost of computers still makes it difficult to get everyone connected.

“This network puts the District on the map as we strive to become a leading tech hub,” says D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. “The District of Columbia government now owns and operates the highest speed and most extensive city-wide fiber network in the world.”

The city isn’t providing direct internet access to homes or private businesses through the network — only government buildings, schools, health centers and certain non-profits can use it right now. Eventually, service providers like Verizon or Comcast will make deals with the city to tap into the network and provide faster, cheaper broadband for everyone else.

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  • kelli shewmaker

    this is an exciting but complicated project. if anyone doesn’t want to wait for comcast & verizon to do something good for low-income people, you can get involved with several community-based groups setting up mesh networks in different parts of the city. check out