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Unequal access to high-speed internet could be the biggest obstacle to getting the American economy back on track

Unequal access to high-speed internet could be the biggest obstacle to getting the American economy back on track
Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images



Americans' personal and professional lives are rapidly moving online, with social distancing accelerating that trend.




But as many as 160 million Americans — mostly in rural areas — don't have access to high-speed internet.




The availability of broadband internet directly affects jobs and GDP growth, according to six independent studies spanning two decades.




As unemployment claims reach record highs, Americans' unequal access to high-speed internet could become a roadblock to recovery.




Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.



If the gap between traditional businesses and those that operate online wasn't already stark enough, the coronavirus epidemic is laying it bare.
More Americans filed for unemployment in the past month than did across a two-year period following the 2008 economic downturn. Economists now predict that more than 20 million Americans will have lost their jobs by the end of April.
But as the US looks to nurse its economy back to life in the coming months, one obstacle is increasingly likely to stand in the way: the massive holes in availability of high-speed internet.
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