People with disabilities need broadband for jobs; that’s 27,480 in St Louis County alone

Duluth News Tribune posts a column on the impact of poor broadband on people with disabilities…

People with disabilities in areas where internet access is non-existent or limited are part of the “digital divide,” which prevents them from getting remote job opportunities and which, as often is the case for Americans with disabilities, keeps them at a poor standard of living. In 2015, there were 110,000 people in Duluth living with disabilities and under the poverty guidelines. We know those numbers will be increasing when the latest figures are presented.

A Minnesota government report said there are 27,480 individuals with disabilities living in St. Louis County, the fifth-largest county in the state. Hennepin County, the largest, has 110,150 residents with disabilities, according to the 2017 Minnesota State Demographic Center report. Duluth alone has 11,400 residents with disabilities.

In Minnesota, there are 125,000 people without a wired internet provider with services at their residence, according to a 2021 Broadband Now report. Increasing internet access would give Minnesotans with disabilities the same opportunities as able-bodied individuals. The need to work remotely has increased during COVID-19 and is expected to continue when the pandemic is over.

And a final note…

Right now, too many Americans with disabilities living in Minnesota are caught in the digital divide. But the good news for them is that the gap can be shrunk by improving internet access. Americans with disabilities clearly deserve a more level playing field.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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