Google has long been seen as a visionary company, one that has ushered in a host of innovations that have transformed the way people live and, in the process, turned the company itself into a celebrated and iconic brand. Its national expansion into broadband is a venture known as Google Fiber, but as the corporate giant seeks to enter the business of running high-speed Internet networks in cities around the country, Google’s visionary reputation masks potentially troubling practices that recall some of our nation’s darkest days around the issues of race and economic class.
Instead of providing Internet, or broadband, service to all residents in the communities it plans to serve, Google appears to be engaged in the abhorrent practice of redlining: depriving these services to certain neighborhoods based on income, ethnicity and race. Should this pattern hold true, the inevitable result will be the undermining of communities that are in most need of broadband access, thereby deepening the digital divide.
Already too many Americans are without online access at a time when such access is no longer a luxury but a necessity in every household for everything from paying bills, searching for jobs, pursuing advanced educational degrees and accessing health records. (The Seattle Medium)