Cover of the report with child using laptop in dark.

Closing the Digital Divide Benefits Everyone, Not Just the Unconnected

Institutions that provide essential services, including education, health care, government functions, and the workforce, have a duty to make their services universally accessible. But because of the persistence of the digital divide, these institutions cannot fully integrate and modernize internet-based technologies into their services; doing so would effectively deny service to people who cannot adequately access the internet. As a result, institutions have been unable to fully leverage the benefits of technology to make their services even more effective, efficient, and innovative. And that impacts everyone, including those who are fully connected.

In our new report, the fourth in a series since 2020 between Boston Consulting Group and Common Sense, we explore how essential services in four areas—education, health care, government, and employment—can be even more dramatically improved by closing the digital divide to ensure greater use of internet-based technologies. The report also provides tactical advice for state broadband leaders on how to think about connectivity, and stories and best practices for getting the most out of the funds available for these essential services.

We are at a turning point. Historic new federal funding for broadband gives states the potential to close the digital divide for good and reap significant economic and social benefits. Leveraging these funds will benefit everyone—families, communities, government, and the private sector but how well these funds are used will depend on key decisions made today by state broadband leaders.