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Broadband Advocacy from Rural Strategies
The Rural Broadband Policy Group is a national coalition of grassroots, regional, and national organizations that work together to create better broadband access for rural America and other marginalized communities. Rural Strategies established the group in 2009 with two primary goals:
- To articulate national broadband policies that provide opportunities for rural communities to participate fully in the nation's democracy, economy, culture, and society
- To spark national collaboration among rural broadband advocates.
The group is founded upon four principles:
- Communication is a fundamental human right.
- Rural America is diverse.
- Local ownership and investment in community are priorities.
- Network neutrality and open access are vital.
The Rural Broadband Policy Group petitions to the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, and individual state representatives against policies that place rural communities at a disadvantage. The group has historically advocated to protect net neutrality, rural landline service and access to 911, and more. The group also hosts public briefs, workshops, and summits and hearings to discuss rural communications issues.
The group also publishes Rural Broadband Tales, a digital campaign featuring a collection of stories from rural people about their experiences getting access to and using high-speed Internet.
Millions of students in rural America are falling behind in school and beyond, simply because high-speed internet is unreliable or unavailable in their communities. This is the rural broadband gap.
Click on the links below to learn more about the digital divide and how we can join the efforts to reduce the divide.
This divide between students who do have access to high-speed internet at home and those who don’t is known as the rural broadband gap or the homework gap, and it’s taking a toll on students who are already vulnerable to the economic hardship present in many rural counties and small towns. But rural communities around the country are fighting to get their children the resources they need to thrive in the digital age.
To learn about the rural broadband gap and how it is playing out in one of the regions Teach For America partners with, I visited three communities in Eastern Kentucky where this digital disparity is posing unique challenges to education—and leading to inventive solutions.
In this three-part series, you will meet teachers, principals, business owners, and community leaders in Appalachia who are deeply invested in creating and supporting homegrown answers to the rural broadband gap. You will hear from students who are finding novel ways to stay connected despite the digital divide. And you will learn about leaders who are working tirelessly to ensure that students in Appalachia are empowered to pursue their passions and gifts without having to go elsewhere.
The Digital Divide is real for rural America students.