Mitchell Shapiro on Electric Cooperatives and the Digital Divide
Imagine not having access to high speed internet in your home. This is a reality for so many people living in rural communities and it continues to place them at a disadvantage. We need to work to address this “digital divide”. Mitchell Shapiro completed his Co-Learning Plan titled Electric Cooperatives and the Digital Divide: Helping Connect Rural Americans to 21st Century Opportunity. This Co-Learning Plan outlines the task of bringing high speed Internet to America's rural communities. This goal remains a challenging and painfully unfinished one, aggravating the existing economic and social divides these communities face. To help address this challenge, rural energy cooperatives (RECs)—including three in Michigan—are deploying high-speed fiber optics to better connect their members. This CLP examines the experience of these pioneers and provides a body of information, analysis, and recommendations to inform strategies aimed at expanding broadband, and the benefits it can bring to underserved rural communities.