Opinion: San Diego’s 5G Deal with Verizon Threatens to Increase Digital Divide – Times of San Diego

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Share This Article: Cellular antennas on a tower. Photo by Leon Brooks via Wikimedia CommonsBy Earl Lum and Orlando GonzalesSupport Times of San Diego’s growthwith a small monthly contribution

The City of San Diego is navigating many obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the most pressing is the inadequacy of its broadband Internet infrastructure. Full participation in the modern world requires a fast and reliable broadband connection, and more and more of everyday activities and livelihoods are moving online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet a backroom deal between Verizon and Mayor Kevin Faulconer signed in 2019 has left most San Diegans behind one year later.
The digital divide — the gulf between those who can readily access computers and the Internet and those who cannot — is among those disparities, even if it hasn’t received the same public recognition as others, and it is an especially acute problem in San Diego.
As of 2018, there were more than 77,000 households in San Diego without high-speed Internet at home and another 36,000 without any Internet at home, including a cell phone data plan. The problem disproportionately impacts low-income households and communities of color. Compared to white families, Black and Latinx families are about …

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