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Digital divide maps should be redrawn

One of the most concerning findings of The News team’s recent Digital Divide series on internet connectivity concerns in Northeast Michigan was the inaccuracy of government maps that could keep help from reaching the people who need it.

Millions and millions of state, federal, and private dollars have been invested and promised to Northeast Michigan communities where the Federal Communications Commission says residents lack internet speeds fast enough for modern life. About a third of our neighbors live in such places, according to The News’ reporting.

Much of that money cannot be invested in places where FCC maps show residents have options for high-speed internet.

However, The News’ reporting shows many people who live in those parts of the map don’t have the options the FCC says they have. While there are options, they are often unreliable, don’t perform at the speeds the map says they perform, or are too expensive for residents to access.

We appreciate the work of our government leaders and businesses large and small working to connect Northeast Michiganders to the modern world, which became all but prerequisite for living during the coronavirus.

But we urge those same leaders to take another gauge of the problem to draw more accurate depictions of where help is needed.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)

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