The Digital Divide is alive and well on the Suncoast

Sarasota is a beautiful place to live. We have the most gorgeous beaches in the country, the climate is perfect 365 days a year and if you were so inclined, the restaurants would have you outgrowing that teeny weeny bikini in no time at all. Most of the people who live here are affluent and highly educated. Most.

There are still pockets of the Suncoast that can’t afford to enjoy all the things the area has to offer, and it’s in those pockets where the digital divide still exists. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that of the households in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area that make less than $20K a year, 50.7% of them are without broadband internet access. In households making more than $20K a year, broadband access jumps to 81.4%.

So, what’s being done to bridge the digital divide in this part of the Sunshine State, where more and more of the high school curriculum takes place online? At least on the hardware side, some Florida high schools offer classes where students rebuild donated computers to give to students who don’t have them. Other organizations like the Gulf Coast Community Foundation are rallying resources from area businesses to contribute to the state’s digital needs.

Mandating a bridge over the Digital Divide is one thing; but coming up with community solutions to a community problem is a far better resolution.