Digital divide is defined as the gap between underserved communities that have poor or limited internet access and the communities that have relatively better access to broadband internet (25 megabits per second download/3 megabits per second upload speeds).
Impacts of the digital divide have been broadly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The economic health of a community can be described many ways. The Tennessee Ability To Pay Index and Indicators of Economic Health represent a database of information and analysis developed by the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture for use by the TN Department of Environment and Conservation State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan program. This database combines a community’s unique socio-economic and financial data to determine their economic health and fiscal capacity in order to receive loans through the SRF program.
Navigating the new challenges of COVID-19 is a daunting task for businesses, families, and Tennessee’s direct farm marketers, and value-added agriculture entrepreneurs and agritourism operators are no exception. We have developed a listing of resources to support farmers who are making critical decisions and business adjustments during this time.
Mobile Hotspot Lending Program
Broadband internet is still out of reach for many rural communities in Tennessee. Recent statistics indicate that rural residents have limited access to broadband internet (25 download/3 upload megabits per second) in Tennessee. The State of Tennessee’s rural broadband initiative is a step in the right direction but it will likely take years before infrastructure will be in place to provide reliable and affordable internet to rural residents. UT Extension is addressing the digital divide through the library mobile hotspot lending program across 7 counties and Digital Literacy Skills Training program.