Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40, 2022 19 Introduction The term digital divide describes the difference between that portion of the population that has strong internet access and that portion with little or no internet access. As broadband connection has developed over time, the digital divide has decreased, meaning there are fewer people who have inadequate internet. However, when observing locations with underdeveloped infrastructure, like Alaska, the digital divide becomes apparent, even with the advanced technologies that exist today. Alaska ranks fifty-first in internet accessibility and coverage among US states and Washington, D.C. Its abysmal 0% access to lowprice, wired internet plans, defined as plans that cost less than $60 a month, creates a major accessibility problem across the state (Alaska Internet Coverage and Availability, 2021). These two factors, in addition to many other contributors, create a vast digital divide across the state of Alaska. Without a cheaper and more accessible solution, Alaska will fail to reap the benefits associated with the internet, which can support economic growth, education, and a better standard of living. Importance of the Internet The internet is a conduit for information, facilitating data transfer all over the world. It provides convenience, education, and business, all at the click of a button. But, without a connection, it provides no benefit. Hence, the 20% of the population in Alaska (Alaska Internet Coverage and Availability, 2021) that does not have adequate connection is denied the opportunities that internet access provides. Internet access is a necessity for participation in modern life in the United States. Between communication, information, and social networks, the internet is required for many aspects of the average American lifestyle. This fact was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, when physical locations and interactions shut down, forcing many daily tasks to be completed virtually over the internet. THE DIGITAL DIVIDE: INTERNET IN ALASKA John Alexander Carr Alaska faces great challenges, given its geography and sparse population, that limit the development of broadband technology throughout the state. With internet connectivity growing more important for education, business, and communication, its development is vital for Alaska’s future success. This article examines the current state of broadband technology in Alaska and the plans proposed by the government and private organizations to solve the internet connectivity problem.